This year we celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth in England, so it is a good time to look back at 1952 in the MMM world and see what was happening then.
Fire in Drogheda:
On February 13th, 1952, the Novitiate in Beechgrove, opened in 1941, was destroyed by fire. Overnight one hundred and fifty Sisters and novices were left homeless. The people of Drogheda, local convents and even some hotels generously gave accommodation to the homeless Sisters. The new extension to the convent, due to be opened shortly, was only saved from the fire by the quick action of the Drogheda Fire Brigade and the knowledge of local builders who sealed off access. The hospital continued to run normally even though the Matron, Matron Phelan, could see her own apartments going up in flames. There was massive damage structurally but growth in resilience, flexibility and service among the Sisters after this event.
First sod turned:
Despite the disaster of the fire, 1952 was still the year that Mother Mary went ahead with plans for the building of a Training Hospital on a site adjacent to the convent. A ceremony was held to bless the site and turn the first sod in preparation for building.
Earthquakes in East Africa:
During this year two earthquakes occurred in parts of East Africa where MMM were pioneering new missions. In January the Kigoma Region of Tanzania (then, Tanganyika) suffered a 6.2 magnitude shock. There is no record of fatalities. The June 1952 quake was felt in the Western Area of Uganda and in Kabanga where MMM has established a hospital. There was considerable damage to both the convent and the new Dispensary.
Bush Fire in Nigeria:
Lily Murphy, one of the MMM volunteers working in Ogoja, Nigeria reported that a bush fire came dangerously close to the house. Luckily, although there was damage to some property, no one was killed.
Heavy smog began to hover over London, England, on December 4, 1952. It persisted for five days, leading to the deaths of at least 4,000 people. It was a Thursday afternoon when a high-pressure air mass stalled over the Thames River Valley. At this time no one was yet talking about caring for the earth and climate change.