Dublin (Ireland). From 26 to 30 May 2023, the Superior General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Chiara Cazzuola, went to Ireland for a short visit to the Province of Our Lady Queen of Ireland. Welcomed at Dublin airport by the Provincial, Sr. Bridget O’Connell, and by Sr. Mary McCormack, provincial treasurer, on the afternoon of the 26th she reached the Provincial House of St. Joseph of Kilmacud, Dublin, and from there she went to a nearby rest home to meet Sister Margaret O’Callaghan. The day then concluded with a prayer of welcome and blessing for this special visit to the Province.

On 27 May, Mother Chiara joined all the sisters for the Provincial Assembly at De La Salle Pastoral Center in Castletown, Laois, the third meeting of the process of Province discernment, who felt blessed by her special presence. Also with her was Sister Runita Borja, Councilor for Youth Ministry, already in Ireland since 23 May.

The Provincial Planning Group prepared the assembly and a facilitator accompanied the FMA on the itinerary. The day mainly consisted of providing information and reflections on the options regarding the future of the Province. The FMA were able to listen, ask questions, reflect, and discuss in groups. The whole Assembly then prayed a Celtic Blessing on Mother Chiara and Sr. Runita. At the end, Mother praised the Province’s courage in looking at concrete reality and promised her and the General Council’s encouragement. Throughout the day, the FMA strongly felt Mother’s support, feeling that she is really walking this demanding itinerary with them.

In the afternoon, after meeting with the Provincial Council, Mother Chiara traveled with the Provincial to Limerick, where she visited Sr. Maire Byrne, in the rehabilitation ward of St Camillus hospital, to then join the FMA at the rest home O. L. Queen of Ireland. The sisters were at the door to welcome them and a great sense of gratitude was perceived for this community moment. Mother thanked them for their fidelity and for the gift of her life given to the Institute.

The Holy Mass of Pentecost Sunday, 28 May, was celebrated in the chapel of the Community by Fr. Eunan McDonnell SDB, Provincial of the St. Patrick Province (IRL) of the Salesians of Don Bosco, with whom there was a beautiful sharing.

The visit continued with the Community of St. Teresa of Avila of Bethel, which welcomed Mother warmly. After praying to Mary in the chapel, there was a lively moment of fraternity among the sisters, with life stories and news.

The Provincial then accompanied Mother to Dún Íde to the St. Ide Community, where she contemplated the beauty of the garden with the roses in bud. Mother was also able to see the Sisters’ sporting passion. That evening, the final between Limerick and Cork of the Munster Senior Hurling, a hurling tournament, Ireland’s national sport, took place. Finally, the sisters thanked Mother Chiara for her circular letters, and she invoked the gifts of the Spirit for them, asking Mary Help of Christians to continue to be a living presence in their home and in their life. The group photo was taken in the garden, next to the holly bush planted for the 150th anniversary of the FMA Institute.

Later, to meet all the Limerick Sisters, the three smaller communities gathered for afternoon tea prepared by the community of O. L.  of Limerick Westbury, joined by the Sisters of the Saint Lile community of Cill Leala and Regina Mundi of Bracken. From there, Mother, with Sr. Runita, the Provincial, and the Sisters of Laura Vicuña Community of Bawnogue reached the O. L. of the Rosary in Hazelwood, Dublin. The evening began with refreshments and continued with evening prayer to celebrate the feast of Pentecost, followed by dinner and a moment of sharing before returning to the Provincial House.

On 29 May, after attending Mass in the parish church of St. Lawrence O’Toole Kilmacud, Mother visited the O. L. of the Street community in Finglas. Here the neighbors and the parishioners gathered, together with the Augustinian parish priest Father Seamus, to share lunch together and a time of fraternity, in which their appreciation for the presence of the Sisters emerged.

In the evening, she visited St. Mary Mazzarello Community of Morehampton Road. Since it was their last evening, the Community blessed Mother Chiara and Sister Runita, an expression of everyone’s gratitude for the simplicity, frankness, and sense of humor that characterized them during this visit.

On 30 May, they were accompanied to the airport by Sr. Mary McCormack and the Provincial, Sr. Bridget O’Connell, who expressed her gratitude thus, “Mother’s visit has been a blessing for our Province at this time and we are deeply grateful to her. We continue to support her and the General Council with our prayers and look forward to her return”.

Photos: Flickr FMA


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