Meet the MMM Sisters

sr bernadette heneghan webBernadette, known more colloquially as “Bernie”, comes across as quiet and shy at times, but underneath she has a bubbly and warm personality. She enjoys a good joke, can see the fun in situations and adores being with children.

Bernie was born in Claremorris, Co. Mayo, the second eldest in a family of five. Although she lived in the town, her grandparents lived in a rural area so Bernie feels she had the advantages of both environments. She was educated at the local Mercy convent schools. From an early age she knew she had a religious vocation, but knew it was not for the Mercy Sisters. She was influenced by an elderly great aunt who was a Nursing Sister in Texas and heard family stories about her. 

Maria Jose da Silva 2019Sr. Maria José is the new Area Leader for the Americas and known to the writer of this article personally since she was 18 years old! So, yes, I am biased! But all who know Maria can say with me that she is a warm, friendly and approachable person, wise beyond her years, a sincere and mature woman.

Maria comes to her new role after a wide MMM experience in mission. She is Brazilian, from the southern State of São Paulo. She grew up in the neighbouring State of Parana, but her roots come from the North and the Central Western areas of Brazil. As she says herself: ”My parents were internal migrants, searching for better place to live and work within the country in order to be able to offer us conditions for school and better living conditions.” Maria is one of four siblings, she has two brothers and one sister, all married with children. Maria’s father, Ernesto José da Silva, has died, but she is currently involved in her mother’s care; Maria’s mother, Maria de Lourdes Santana Silva, has Alzheimer’s.

Sr. Cecilia Chinenyenwa Kanulor is a strong woman! She is fairly tall and hold herself erect. She faces the challenges of life head on and with much good humour.Sr Ceceilia web

Cecila comes from Nigeria, from Ahiara Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State. She was born the tenth child in a family of eleven, she had seven sisters and three bothers. You can imagine that being one of the youngest in a large family group, she became used to community life from a young age. Her aunt, Sr. Therese Jane Ogu, entered MMM over 60 years ago and quietly, Cecilia watched her aunt and weighed up her vocational choices. She says her aunt exemplified all the qualities she would later admire in the MMM Sisters she would meet - compassion, simplicity, understanding, and care.

Irene Balzan 3Meeting Sr. Irene Balzan for the first time, one is struck by a certain calmness and peace. Some say “contained” and most agree she is very competent. This comes from her family but also from the long years she spent as a child, teenager and young woman developing her spiritual life and discerning her life’s vocation.

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