Was Mother Mary Martin an Influencer?

Was Mother Mary Martin an Influencer?

by Sr. Rita Kelly MMM              Ireland                                 30.01. 2024

I often hear, through the media, of certain people described as an “Influencer”. My understanding is that it is now a profession! I ask myself, “is not every person an “influencer”, whether in the negative or positive sense?”
I looked up “Google” and ChatGPT and they described “influencers” as individuals who have established credibility. Influencers can be considered a profession. This is news to me. Personally, I think we are all influencers in our daily living and in our relationships with people.

As I collect stories from the local people in Drogheda about Mother Mary Martin and her legacy, I am struck by her influence on people at the personal, social, and spiritual level and continuing down through the generations.
One example is the story of Mary.

Mary lived across the road from the hospital. She remembers the hospital being built and playing around the building (1952). One day, when she was 10 years of age, she was playing with two balls against the walls of the Laundry of the hospital. A car came and stopped; the window rolled down. It was Mother Mary Martin. She was so shocked that Mother Mary would stop and talk to her, “a scruffy little girl”, as she described herself. This lady grew up with the stories of Mother Mary, the Sisters and the work they did. She continues the story by remembering a spontaneous act of her daughter in 1995.

The war in Rwanda was raging. Mary had a daughter, age 10 years. It was summer time. The little girl was attending a summer camp in the Droichead Arts Centre. At the summer camp they were learning to play musical instruments. The little girl had brought an old accordion. One morning, on the radio, they heard the MMM sisters talking about the war in Rwanda. The Sisters had gone to Rwanda ,and were describing the situation and the hundreds of people looking for assistance.  Mary described the interview as “really emotive”.

The daughter said she could gather money by busking. She said her friends who played recorders and concertinas would help her. Poor Mary was left to do the organising. There were no mobile phones. She had to phone the homes of the children to get permission from the parents. Also, she had to get a permit from the Garda Barracks for the children to busk.

Eventually, Mary got a permit for a Tuesday and Wednesday and permission for the children to play in the center of the town. She also managed to get two now famous local musicians, Tadgh Murphy and Sean Og Collins to come and play with the children. For the two days they collected €3,360. It was given straight to the MMM for the Rwanda Project. Mary explained this act as “spontaneous, MMM meant so much to us, a 10-year-old girl who wanted to busk for the Sisters.”

This one of the many personal stories that the people of Drogheda are sharing portraying the influence of Mother Mary Martin and the Sisters. I don’t know whether Mother Mary would describe herself as an “influencer” but she had credibility.