Preserving the Past, Empowering the Future

Preserving the Past, Empowering the Future

by Sr. Rita Kelly MMM                Ireland              28.10.2023   

It is strange how some sentences “jump out” from an article and stay with one. I do not remember the article where I read the sentence “Preserving the Past, Empowering the future.” (I have looked it up on Google, but with no result). Pondering about the sentence I realize that I am in the privileged position of doing both.

Firstly, in “Preserving the Past” I am in the process, with MMM Communication Department, of collecting Mother Mary Martin stories from the local people in Drogheda. Acknowledging that there are many books written on Mother Mary Martin. But the aim of this project is to explore the legacy of Mother Mary Martin in her relationships with the local people. Stories that embody the spirituality of the Healing Charism; how her character is mirrored in the stories and the effect of her presence in the social and religious history of Drogheda.

At the Christmas Crafts Fair last year, I met some local people who, on seeing photographs of Mother Mary Martin on display, triggered memories and wished to tell their stories. I was impressed with the stories and mentioned this to our Congregational leader. After some thought, the project to collect the Memories of Mother Mary Martin unfolded.
After some research with the support of MMM Communications Department, by meeting and networking with another of local groups such as the Old Drogheda Society, I now have the opportunity to meet, interview, and record the stories.

“Empowering the Future”, in February 2023 an MMM community was started on a new housing estate, called Newtown Wood, on the Termonfeckin Road, Drogheda. The vision for the new community is to be a faith based intercultural presence in a rapid changing multi-cultural Ireland. At present, there are 180 houses recently built houses with the number increasing. Our neighbours are from many countries such as Pakistan, India, Africa, Philippines, Ireland, England, and Eastern Europe.
I joined the community in September. The tenants are mainly young couples with children, the New Irish. The common denominator for us all is that we are settling into a new community, getting to know each other. Recently, I attended a residential committee, there were the usual concerns, parking spaces, safety for the children playing and proper lightening. But there was a desire to create an environment of supporting and helping each other.

There is a WhatsApp group for the residents, queries and advice is shared about the best package for Wifi, the ways to control the heating in the houses as winter approaches. Plans are suggested for Christmas, such as a community party, party for the children, a Santa Claus.  One of the MMM has started a Youth Group. Slowing but surely a new community is being formed.

I was interviewing three people recently to collect Mother Mary Martin stories. Two of the interviewees knew Mother Mary as children, they remember her as a friendly woman, and a good neighbour.

There is a connection between Preserving the Past, and Empowering the future, the values we share in being friendly, and a good neighbour, despite the changing society we live in.