The journey to realising a vocation is different for everyone.
A glimpse into the life of Sr Mary Margaret, Redemptoristine.
I was born in Marlborough Street, Dublin on the 22nd July 1933, baptised and mademy First Holy Communion and received Confirmation in the Pro-Cathedral.
Our family did not have much of this worlds goods especially during the war but one thing that we did have in abundance was happiness and love.
A memory that stands out in my childhood that happened when I was about six years old and probably up to mischief in the classroom, the teacher said to me ‘the devil is in you’. I was very upset and afraid. Using the unfortunate prevalent imagery of the time one of my small companions said to me ‘not at all – if the devil was in you, you would be black’. When I looked at myself, there was no black. Peace was restored. How children can help one another.
Leaving Marlborough Street School I went to the Dominican Convent in Cabra as we had moved to live in Cabra West. It was quite a change being taught by nuns! These were uneventful years. When I was fourteen I joined the Legion of Mary. That was the beginning of my search for Religious Life. The hidden life of our Lord attracted me and consequently felt that the Contemplative Life mirrored this in a special way. The question remained where best to live out this ideal?
I visited the Carmelite Nuns in Kilmacud and thought that maybe this would be the place, but I was not sure. My confessor sent me to visit the Redemptoristines in Drumcondra. Upon entering the hall door I knew this was where God wanted me to be. The nuns struck me as of being of another world, the colour of their habits, everything about them spoke of a mystical realm for which I longed.
I was not of the required age for entrance however and the Nuns were reluctant to take me but eventually prayer won the day. When I talked everything out with my parents they were very supportive, placed no obstacle in my way and stood by me. On the other hand people accused me of being selfish, only wanting what I wanted. It is with eternal gratitude that I remember my wonderful faith filled parents.
I entered the Redemptoristine Monastery on the 24th September 1950 aged 17 years and begun my journey of Religious Life. The early years were not easy. We arose at 4.30am and lacked many facilities, for example, there no heating in the monastery but no one complained. It was all part of the daily giving. There was a strong emphasis on keeping the rule and striving for holiness. There were certainly very holy sisters in the community and each one striving to give of her best and accepting the daily challenge. The main emphasis was the living out of our charism, that is, to be a living memory of Christ for each other and also to hold the needs of the world in our heart in prayer. We gave time to the study of scripture. The gospel values became the mainstream of our lives striving to become Christ for one another – bringing a very happy and healthy atmosphere into our community living. After Vatican II many things changed slowly but surely!
We make Altar Breads as a service to the Church and we rely on all the parishes who support us by purchasing them. The prayer and work that goes into making the hosts by each sister is something we cherish; and it is for the continuation of our life and the financial upkeep of the Monastery.
We have several young sisters and they have great respect for the older sisters and they in turn have great appreciation of the young sisters.
Having lived of 63 years in God’s house, I am in deep peace, profoundly grateful to God for all the graces and blessings of these years. There have been joys and sorrows along the way, but God’s grace was always there to uphold me.
As I said earlier, my deepest gratitude to my parents who made it possible for me, and my confessor who blessed me and encouraged me.
Sr Mary Margaret as a Novice and celebrating her Golden Jubilee.