MMM connections with England go back to the early twentieth century, when our foundress, Marie Martin, went to school in Harrogate. Her cultural links with England were strong and she volunteered as a VAD nurse during World War I, serving in Malta and France.
Another connection was established in MMM’s early years when Mother Mary decided to have a film made about our work. In 1945 she contacted English film producer Andrew Buchanan, asking if he would travel to Nigeria to document our programmes in the control of Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Mr. Buchanan said the project ‘really began in King’s Cross Station [in London], whilst bombs were raining down on a world without light.… It was then [that] Father Gerard White told me of Medical Missionaries in Ireland.’ Visitation, premiering in London in 1948, informed people in many countries about the congregation.
Establishing a presence
A number of MMMs served in the apostolic delegation (now the apostolic nunciature) in Wimbledon from 1954 to 1983.
In 1972 we opened our first house in England in Muswell Hill, London, and later moved to Ealing. Over the years we also had communities in Silvertown in East London; in Romiley, Stockport; and in Solihull in the West Midlands.
Many MMMs completed basic training in England and pursued higher studies, especially in tropical medicine. Some went on to pioneer services overseas in areas such as primary health care and obstetric fistula repair. Sisters often appreciated the hospitality of our communities in England, including students, participants in formation programmes and MMMs en route to overseas mission. Others were helped in obtaining visas and other travel documents.
A variety of ministries
MMMs in England did mission awareness work. They visited parishes allocated to us each year throughout the country, reminding parishioners that they, too, share in the missionary life of the Church. Some Sisters also did mission awareness in Scotland. Many women from England and Scotland heard about the Medical Missionaries of Mary in this way and later became vowed members.
We are very grateful to all the generous people who have helped us to bring God’s healing love to others through their prayers and financial assistance. Some have worked with us as volunteers and lay missionaries. MMM Associates actively live our healing charism in their daily lives.
MMMs based in England were involved in local charitable and ecumenical activities, worked with our partner development organisations, helped to address problems faced by asylum seekers and refugees, and advocated on global issues.
While in 2020 we handed over our ministries in England, we ask and encourage our many friends in the UK to continue to support our MMM worldwide mission. Thank you for sharing in our healing charism.
In 2020 we handed over our ministries in England.
At the same time we appreciate and encourage the support that we have continued to receive from our many friends in the UK.