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MMM Blog

Christmas Memories from East Africa

by Sr. Genevieve van Waesberghe MMM    Tanzania  27.12.2021

Baby Wau 190322As a missionary, I owe a lot to the Women of Africa.  They have opened my heart to recognize in day-to-day life, God, our Emmanuel who is always coming in often humble and unexpected ways, especially where there is great suffering and poverty. 

As we journey to Christmas, three memories rise in my mind. It all happened in East and Central Africa. 

One night, I was called to the maternity ward.  A woman brought by her traditional attendant was having difficulty in giving birth.  Women friends were anxiously waiting outside.  Eventually the baby was born, all was well. When the women heard this good news, they burst into joyful ululations to let the world know! 

The Memory Tree

by Nancy Hinds, MMM Associate, U.S.A.  26.12. 2021

crib4on190322Way back in 1981, I had been given the gift to care for terminally ill patients in my home. Each one had a life’s story. Some were leaving the world too soon with young family grieving. Others were sharing a lifetime of memories with a spouse; others were “alone”, but finding a caring family with the care being given. 

A Family Christmas in Zimbabwe

by Sr. Cecily Bourdillon MMM   Zimbabwe/Ireland  25.12.2021

Marydown 29Celebrating Christmas on a farm in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) remains for me a very special childhood memory. Christmas, in the middle of Southern Africa, came when the hot, rainy season was converting the dry, brown landscape to a lush green.

We were blessed to have Midnight Mass celebrated in our large living room by a Jesuit priest friend. A few neighbours might join us. Missed hours of sleep were made up in the morning - Christmas Day!

The Gift of Working for the MMMs

by Nadia Ramoutar, MMM Communications Coordinator  Ireland   24.12.2021

There are gifts that life brings us in the most unexpected ways.  

group photo 3 May 2021 resized 100322When I applied for the role of the Communications Coordinator for the Medical Missionaries of Mary, the deadline for application was 22nd December, 2020.  I recall thinking how close this was to Christmas and how interesting it was that the MMM Sisters would still be working. Many places would have just waited until January to review applications. 

This was my first insight into the MMM culture. The Sisters of MMM are always working and bringing good into the world in some way whether through prayer, practice or planning.

I was fortunate to not only get an interview but to get hired by the MMMs.  I had no idea what the journey ahead of me would bring, but I felt I would be equipped for it with twenty years of experience in communication campaigns and a Ph.D. in Communications.  What I didn’t really know at the time would be not just how much I might give, but how much I would get in return. I am not just talking about a salary either.  Working with the MMM Sisters in Ireland, the Americas, East and Central Africa and West Africa has expanded my world and made me a better person.  I consider working for them to be a divine gift.

Christmas Candle

by Eilín Teeling   AMMM    Ireland    24.12.2021

christmas candle 190322We spend four weeks preparing for Christ’s coming, a time of hope, to find joy and a  glimmer of light in our lives. Advent ends after dusk, before Evening Prayer, on Christmas Eve. Jesus who is born, is the Word made flesh, coming home to each of us, bringing the Good News of God’s ever-faithful love. Christ’s light dispels darkness. 

For me, Advent ends after Christmas Vigil Mass, when our family gathers to light a Christmas candle, placing it in a window. The lit candle shows the way for Mary and Joseph, and the child born in a stable. This old Irish tradition also showed the weary stranger a light and apparently showed priests a safe home in penal times. I learnt it as a child and continue it with my husband and children.

Chris Kindle?

by Sr. Kerisfon Clement Ekanem   Republic of Benin   23.12.2021

CRIB 5 190322Chris kindle? I first heard this word in the Novitiate. What is it all about? The explanation was interesting and captivating, “pick a secret friend, pray for her and a day will come when you will exchange gifts with each other.” 

Christmas in Malawi

by Sr. Mary Doonan MMM  Ireland   23.12.2021

Malawi A24 P5 resizedIn 1980 I spent my first Christmas In Africa, the memories of which will never leave me. I was at St. John’s Hospital, Mzuzu in the North of Malawi. It was a 200 -bed hospital and Nurse Training School attached.

Christmas "SSekukulu"

by Sr. Josephine Nabisere   Uganda   22.12.2021

CRIB 3 resizedUganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate Christmas on 25th December every year. This celebration starts as early as November whereby the sound of Christmas songs is heard across the country. Some shops are colourful with Christmas decorations. The Christmas trees are seen in public places.  A few workers receive their Christmas tokens and celebrate Christmas with them beforehand.

Christmas is Celebrated by all Christians. The parishes organize the people to celebrate Christmas by offering advent retreats, summons and confessions. Surprisingly, non-Christians too wait eagerly to celebrate. They prepare themselves by buying food, clothes etc. However, many people cannot afford to do all this especially in rural areas.

Memories of Christmas 1950s

by Vera Grant,  AMMM    Ireland   22.12.2021

Belfast Christmas 1950sChristmas began in our house on the 8th December, the Feast of The Immaculate Conception. It was a holy day, school was closed, we went to Mass and then we went to visit Santa but most important of all it was the day we were allowed to empty our money boxes and do  our Christmas shopping.

We were given strict instructions about where to get the bus and where we could shop. The favourite place was Woolworths which was like a market with all the goods on display in open counters where you could not only gaze but you could also touch and feel the softness, smell the perfume and run the ribbon between your fingers. The colours were like magnets to the eye and the more garish the more attractive they appeared.

Family Novena

community gathering Brazil 29

by Sr. Maria José da Silva, MMM   Brazil  21.12.2021

Here in Brazil we would like to share with you one of the most enjoyable experiences that happens yearly among the Christian families in our Catholic church.  There are many ways to prepare for Christmas.  One of them is participating in reflections for  nine days before the birth of Jesus.  Here in Brazil we call it “Novena em Familia”  or Family Novena.  This tradition started 50 years ago with a Redemptorist religious priest.  It is a tradition that is now present in all dioceses and Christian communities from the north to the south of Brazil.

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