Golden Jubilee

It’s 50 years this weekend since Sr Ethel entered the order of THE LITTLE COMPANY OF MARY. And to mark her Golden Jubilee, Sr Ethel made a surprise visit to 11am mass in Lissycasey last Sunday, where she addressed the congregation, thanking the people of Clare and particularly the people of her beloved Lissycasey for all their support for her work over the past 50 years. Sr. Ethel’s niece, Eimear  Cummins, read out a poem specially written to mark the occasion of Sr Ethel’s Golden Jubilee

Thank you to the people of Lissycasey

It’s 50 years ago today,

that I answered God’s call & headed away,

Yes, scared, but excited for challenges new,

my parents were pillars & steadied me through.

The Order I chose gives poor people hope,

and courage to those struggling to cope

My Order is Mary Potter’s LITTLE COMPANY OF MARY,

God guides us with healing, loving and caring.

So first based in Limerick, to be taught nursing skills,

To learn cures & bandages, diagnosis & pills

To prepare my mind for what might lie in store

And teach me survival on faraway shores

Then off to Pretoria, in the African heat

To engage with Apartheid & its in-human beat.

Oh the shock to my core, I thought for to flee –

I felt so alone, far from Lissycasey

But I battled it out, inspired by the people

Caring for the sick, the infirm and the feeble

Nursing and feeding & teaching them things

Till finally these people grew their own wings

So 16 years later, my mission complete

I sadly moved on, God guiding my feet

I travelled all over, on foot, bus and rail

Til I found the township they call Missionvale.

Such poverty & homelessness near stopped my heart

The NEED was enormous, where should I start?

My whole Order was needed, but there was just me,

So I started my Mission from under a tree.

Yes a lone leafy tree, was our 1st college

Giving nutrition & food & imparting knowledge

As the years flew by, it became plain to see

Our mission had quickly outgrown the tree

We needed support & we needed it fast

My Lissycasey neighbours they sent me their cash

For a SCHOOL, CHURCH & HALL the money was got

And from our fundraising we built quite a lot.

Some of you travelled to visit me there

Oh!,  the excitement!,  when ye landed from Clare

The stories from home, the songs from the Banner

The sounds of the trowels & the shovels & hammers

And then the sadness, when ye’d have to return

The loneliness hurts & the salty tears burn

So I just count the days till ye  come back again

To enrich our Missionvale Township again

The NEED in the VALE will always be there

But God’s BLESSINGs bestow on the people of Clare

For when death & hunger knocked at our door

Lissycasey’s proud people came to the fore

Your selfless kindness I’ll never forget,

Missionvale always will be in your debt

Though I live on my own, I’m rarely  alone

As I have all your photos all over my home.

The faxes, the letters, the texts and the money

All keep my chin up when the waves they got bumpy

Not ONE day goes by that I don’t miss home

And I crave for the day when my work will be done

Each one of you, are so special to me

I felt you alongside me, back under the tree

Your support to me, you’ll never understand

Like an invisible army, holding my hand

And so on this Sunday, I just want to  say

Tis 50 years since I entered, TODAY,

You’ve all kept me going, from across the miles

With your thoughts and your prayers, your donations & smiles.

When I left for Africa, my family

Was my parents, my brothers and sisters and me,

But my Oh my, how my family has grown

My nieces and nephews have kids of their own

Each one is different and each one unique

How quickly they learn to walk & to speak.

My family ensure that I feel never alone

And I treasure the welcome whenever I’m home

What would I have done, without you all by my side?

Without your help, A Dream might have died

Today I say humbly, from my heart, through and through

Mile Buiochas, and a MASSIVE  Thank you