by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator Ireland 28.03.2023
Recently, I faced a daunting challenge and survived. Go through the photographs of the MMMs and select only six images that reflect the pioneering spirit of the Irish Sisters. This request is for the MMM to participate in a photography exhibition that includes other congregations of Sisters too. Only six images could be sent and they had to represent three time periods since the 1920s. Perhaps that does not sound daunting but when you consider the incredible MMM women since the Congregation was founded in 1937, going through the images of them at work around the world would take your breath away.
Since I began in my role working in Communications with the MMMs two years ago I have been amazed and enthralled by the MMMs stories of overcoming challenge and hardship to deliver health, healing and services to some of the world’s most remote areas. Nothing stops them. Not distance, floods, gang violence or languages. Somehow they find their way there and always provide an effort and not an excuse. The MMM Sisters would never write such a sentence about themselves because it could be viewed as boasting. That kind of ‘bragging’ would never be valued or encouraged.
Sr Sheila Campbell, Sr Mary Doonan, Jolene Mathews (our MMM graphic designer) and I sat around a table and we each proposed a photo we loved. It was then like a United Nations negotiation to see which photo made the cut.
‘What about the one with the Sister on the tractor?’
‘What about the sex trafficked person being hugged by the Sister who helped free her?”
‘What about the Sister operating on the woman with VVF?’
‘What about Mother Mary carrying the bucket in Africa?’
Then to find the image amongst the thousands and thousands filed on hard drives and jump drives. It was like an Indiana Jones film where we tried to find the exact right photo and where it had lived for many years.
A photo is worth a thousand words, we often hear. In this case the images just show so much joy, love, care, frustration, determination and most of all – the healing charism of MMM. We see in the endless array of slums and unknown villages where the Sisters toil, the love that fuels their efforts and their investment in the mission where they now serve. Potentially thousands of miles away from where they were born.
I gave a tour to a person recently and brought him into what is called ‘The Mother Mary Room’ at the convent in Drogheda where Mother Mary once lived. Now, many Sisters live at the Convent after a life of devoting their work to the missions. As I walked him around the room, I saw his face soften and under the exhibition lighting, I saw his eyes water.
‘I am not a religious man’ he explained, ‘But there is something about this room and this woman that really moves me.’
I looked around at the images of Mother Mary as a young woman growing up in Dublin, then as a nurse in World War I, then her uniform after she founded the MMMs and as an elderly woman near the end of her life. I knew what he meant. The MMMs move me all the time and inspire me to be a better person. That is the secret of the healing charism at work, silently though the world seems to fall apart, a healing is underway.