Sr. Maria considers herself as a fish caught by the MMM Magazine and by the late Sr. Ruth Carey’s ‘Diary of an MMM’, which reached her in her secondary school in Malta, before she ever met an MMM Sister in person. As an economics student, she took the opportunity in 1969 of a 2-month traineeship in Belfast City Public Libraries, from where she would travel every weekend to an MMM community. By the end of that time, having met in person several MMMs – from pioneers or veterans on the mission field, to those fresh from novitiate or from college, straining at the leash to ‘go out to the missions’ – she was sure that this was the life to which God was calling her.
Her early years of formation followed by her student years in MMM were spent in Clonmel, Drogheda, Waterford and Dublin. When her mother, who had trained as a nurse with Irish Blue Sisters in Malta, used to break into singing ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary…’ while going about her housework, none of the family dreamt that Maria would be starting her life as an MMM in that very same Tipperary. During those years, she came to know the hospitality of the Irish, and also discovered the joy of living as a member of an international and multicultural community, working shoulder-to-shoulder with Sisters from at least 3 continents.
As a Medical student in Dublin, she experienced again the friendliness of Irish students, who have invited her to every 10-year reunion since her class qualified in 1980, and many of whom still keep regularly in touch. After further studies and experience in Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Tropical Medicine, she was missioned to Tanzania, where she reached in 1984. Maria has been working there since, starting with 4 months studying KiSwahili, then in MMM Hospitals in Kabanga, Dareda, Makiungu, right up to the present, where she works as a semi-retired Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at Nangwa Village Health Programme, under the shadow of the beautiful Mount Hanang, Manyara Region.
She is thankful for these 50 years as an MMM, to her MMM Sisters, who modelled for her what she might aspire to be like, to her most supportive family, friends and mentors, who have become part of her life over this half-century, which feels to her just like a happy dream.