Dareda – Passing on the Healing Charism

Dareda – Passing on the Healing Charism

Moira Brehony AMMM tells the story of Dareda Hospital in Tanzania, run by MMM Sisters between 1948 and 2000. When MMM withdrew, it left the Associates to maintain the spirit of Mother Mary and of the healing charism. This has continued right up to the present.

Dareda Hospital was opened in January 1948 and the first MMM Sisters to reside there were Sr. Helena Mulcahy and Sr. Clare O’Driscoll. Mother Mary Martin visited Dareda the same year. She decided that the hospital with more MMM Sisters would develop into a bigger facility and offer more services to the poor and in particular to the mother and child in keeping with the true MMM spirit. By 1959 a General Nurse Training school was opened with Sr. Miriam O’Quigley as tutor.

Despite some unplanned events like an earthquake in 1964 the hospital grew from strength to strength and is still operational to this day. It continues to train nurses.

The staff of Dareda hospital were very influenced by the Sisters. The healing charism of MMM continues to this day. A number of staff totally committed their lives to the care of patients both in the hospital and in the outreach mother and child clinics. Many of the staff used to join the Sisters for prayer. Sr. Dolores Kelly who worked in the Pharmacy in Dareda regularly prayed with the staff and the local children and she gave her time every Saturday to visit local families and listen to their stories. MMM Sisters Theresia Samti, Aloysia Lagween, Opportuna Cypriani, Theresia Ladislaus, Lydia Kijuu, Vincent Pallotti, Jacintha Akonaay and Protegia Slaa are all from Dareda and its surrounding areas. MMM now has a new postulant Veronica Michael, from Dareda, whose parents and grandparents knew many of the Sisters.

Following the Congregational Chapter in 1997 the MMM Associate movement was established. In 1999, Sr. Theresia Ladislaus introduced the Associate movement to the staff of Dareda Hospital. By that time, due to a shortage of Sisters, the management of the hospital had been returned to the diocese and a new Congregation of Sisters took over the convent and the hospital grounds.

Six nurses including a nurse tutor signed up for an orientation course given by Sr. Marcelina McCarthy. She regularly visited Dareda hospital from Makiungu hospital. In the year 2000, six ladies made their Associate covenants for one year. The following year, four more staff – three female staff and one male signed up for a new orientation programme. This was facilitated by Sr. Protegia Slaa.

In 2002 Sr. Josephine Grealy revisited Dareda hospital. She was pleasantly surprised and impressed when she found that the staff had all remained working in the hospital and training school and the healing spirit of MMM was so strong. The matron (Mary Akonaay AMMM) and nurse tutor (Bernadette Neema AMMM) were staff who had worked very closely with the Sisters. They in turn were continuing to pass on the MMM spirit to their staff and students. Sr Josephine felt that the associates in Dareda were working and living a life of commitment to the poor as the Sisters had done in the past.