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MMM Blog

Let it Be Done to Me

by Sr. Sheila Campbell   MMM       Ireland         25.03.2022

virgin mary resizedToday is the Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord also called the Feast of the Incarnation. Exactly nine months before Christmas Day – how good a timing is that! I began thinking about this Feast a few days ago. There is one thing that really bugs me. It is this image we have of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as being a sweet, passive girl. You know the images. Mary is depicted as standing, all dressed in blue or white, hands slightly lifted, eyes looking towards heaven.

The Mary in the Gospels is anything but passive. She hears of her cousin in need, and off she goes on a perilous journey to come to her help. She goaded Jesus into action at the marriage feast of Cana. She stood at the foot of the cross and watched her own son suffer a horrible death. She is a determined woman and a woman of action. So why is she shown as being so sweet and passive?

Years of patriarchy explains most of it. The role of women was downplayed and women were “good” if they did what men told them to. Also, another part of the problem is who did the translations from the original texts into modern day English (men, mostly).

Years ago, I had a wonderful lecturer, a Redemptorist priest, in Fordham University who explained the translation problem of exactly this text: “Let it be done to me according to thy word”. These are Mary’s words of acceptance of the angel’s message that she was to become the mother of God. We translate it in a passive voice – let it be done – but the actual Greek text is much more active. It is as if Mary was punching the air and saying “Yes!”

I like to think of Mary this way. She was young, probably still a teenager by modern day standards, certainly at the beginning of her reproductive life. She would have embraced the cause with excitement, with fervour. Look at our young people today on protest marches for climate change, world peace, etc.
So today I honour Mary who took on the challenge, and yes, the honour of being the Mother of God. I look for her guidance and strength during the times when I fall into passivity and just accept the status quo. Mary, my sister, walk with me today.

Tackling HIV/AIDS in Malawi

by Sr. Cecily Bourdillion  MMM     Zimbabwe       23.03.2022
cecily bourdillon in Malawi resizedI arrived in Lilongwe, capital city of Malawi, central Africa, in September 2001 having been assigned to Chipini Health Centre. Sr. Christine Lawler drove me to Chipini. This was a five-hour journey on the one highway in Malawi, linking north to south. Chipini is a small village, twenty kilometres into the countryside from the highway. In 1989, MMM was invited to Chipini to build and administer the Health Centre for Zomba Diocese. Christine was the sister-in-charge and I was to take over the supervision of the Primary Health Care (PHC) programme.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which, over time, causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic had hit Malawi. There was no treatment, nor was there a means of verifying the diagnosis available in Chipini. People were dying, mostly young people, with the well-recognised major and minor signs of HIV/AIDS. The only response we MMMs at Chipini could give was to care for those with the infection in their homes. Volunteers were trained and the home-based care programme (HBC) was initiated.

Home Visits to the Sick in Angola

by Sr. Beatrice Chiamaka Iyioku        Angola     21.03.2022
Angola mother and child resized"Anointed by the Spirit, Christ is the one sent by the Father to heal, to proclaim the Good News. Follow Him...." MMM Constitutions 9.1

Our healing charism springs from the charitable response of Mary who went in haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth, bringing with her the life who is Christ. As the sisters of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, we undertake home visitation. Checking on our friends and neighbours who are home bound and may not find it easy to get around.
It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon when we visited some of our friends in the suburbs of Luanda, Angola. There had been no rain for about three days since the last rainfall and we are grateful for that, as this means that it will be easier to ply the difficult road made muddy and clumsy by heavy rainfall. After about a 30 minutes’ drive, we came into the village to the house of Lydia (not her real name).

Coping with Covid

by Sr. Sheila Campbell,  MMM     Ireland      20.03.2022
coronavirus resizedWe are in a different ball park from two years ago. Here in Ireland most of us are vaccinated and boostered against Covid-19. And yet – after two years of being very careful, finally it has come to our house here in Drogheda. It is not as devastating as the initial months of panic when, with no vaccine, people died. But no one wants Covid. To be honest, I am even sick of the name and I will scream if I hear any more statistics.

Miracle of Birth

by  Eilín Teeling  AMMM        Ireland       19.03.2022
one year old resized “I understand birthdays now!” The new Dad was celebrating his son’s first birthday with his wife, with me, and with the three other grandparents. The baby looked at the lit candle on the birthday cake and smiled too. He didn’t know what was happening. He just knew that he was surrounded by six adoring adults. We were thrilled to be celebrating his first year of life. “It’s amazing to think that two years ago he wasn’t with us, and now he is here, one year old.” We all pondered the truth of this statement. Where was the baby before?

Patrick

by Sr. Sheila Campbell  MMM    Ireland      17.03.2022

St Patrick resizedToday is the Feast of Saint Patrick, a great missionary of the 5th Century. In some sense, having always grown up with “Saint Patrick” in our lives, we tend to take him for granted. But recently I have been turning to Patrick and looking at him as a young man, called to transmit God’s love to a people who were not at all interested. How did he do it?

On a Protest March

by  Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer MMM          U.S.A.         15.03.2022

7 vigil CROP 2 resizedRecently I was asked “What is it like to be on a protest march?” Here is my answer. So often, the feeling of hopelessness comes over me when I hear the cries of suffering people. What can I do? I am so small and the need is so great. Did Jesus feel like that in the Garden of Gethsemane? Did Jeremiah and the prophets want to hide like Jonas and not deal with where God was leading them? What happens? Jeremiah says God put a fire in his belly and it would not go away. 

Somehow God leads you to likeminded people who also want to do something. This happened to me after a retreat. A Sister came up to me and asked me to join the Boston Coalition of Sisters against Human Trafficking. I was overjoyed and at the same time wondered how I could contribute.

The Power of a Simple Touch

By Sr. Keresifon Clement Ekanem     Republic of Benin    13.03.2022
Keresifon Clement Ekanem resizedShe walked into the Clinic (one of the Clinics I worked after my training) emaciated with wrinkled skin, looked weak and breathless, accompanied by her mother who looked exhausted too. Other patients were excused and Patience (not her real name) was received as an emergency. Her name and other data were taken; she looked older than her age. Several laboratory analyses were run on her as well as physical examination. On the long run, it was discovered she had a terminal illness and an umbilical hernia. My goodness, is this not a case for a Teaching Hospital? I thought to myself but I knew that the Doctor was going to accept her, if he does accept her then God will have to perform a miracle in this Clinic. In fact he did admit her and God worked a miracle.

Words Bring Results

by Sr. Prisca Ovat MMM       Kenya          11.03.2022

Sr Prisca Ovat Mercy Esther resizedHere she is called Mama Kemba, Mercy, 85 years old. She was referred to us by one of the palliative caregivers (Esther). The latter had, alongside others, received a couple of training on identifying, reporting and assisting palliative care patients within their communities. Mercy lives with a son and a daughter who are rarely sober, leading to her neglect. She also suffers from a terrible breast sore of gory sight and unbearable stench.

Seeds of Hope 1

by Vera Grant  AMMM         Ireland      09.03.2022
seeds sproutingIt wouldn’t have been hard to identify the grandparents waiting at the school gate. We stood apart, not knowing one another and wrapped up warmly with masks intact. The young mothers near us with babies in slings or in prams were bare footed in their ankle length leggings. The babies were jogged up and down or idly pushed in their prams as the mothers stood in small clusters, chatting and laughing.

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