On September 2023, the Infant Jesus Sisters' house in Bellevue, Mallow (Ireland), was buzzing with activity. It was no ordinary day: everyone was getting ready to celebrate the Jubilees of Sister Mary (Platinum), Sisters Peter, Betty and Alice (Diamond) and Sister Frances (Gold). What a joy!
Although the absence of Sr Mary - "who is now living in a retirement home", explained Sr Hannah, who was present on the day - was regretted, the sisters were delighted to be able to gather together on "a sunny day and in a magnificent setting" for this beautiful and moving celebration.
The journeys of the sisters celebrated are "particularly inspiring", Sr Hannah continues. She explains: "Mary was a missionary for much of her life in Malaysia and continued her mission of spiritual direction and retreat organisation after her return to Ireland. Alice ministered in a variety of ways - first as a teacher and then as Headmistress of Drishane Boarding School, before taking on the role of Provincial Leader of the Irish/English Province. She also served as a prison chaplain in Wolverhampton, then as General Bursar and Secretary to the congregation. Betty devoted her life to caring for and teaching the 'little ones' in Malahide, Ballymun and the deprived areas of Dublin. She has also had a particular ministry with marginalised people and the Traveller community. Peter has taught for many years and is now involved in pastoral work with people where she lives. Frances' ministry has focused on young people in Drishane and Wolverhampton, where she taught for a number of years and then worked as a chaplain and counsellor in schools in Kerry. She is now part of the Kerry diocesan team and works as a diocesan mentor for school chaplains. »
After mass and a festive meal, the participants sang along to the sound of a guitar, telling stories and sharing their memories. It was a moment of laughter and fun, before the jubilarians, always full of energy, took up a spade to plant a tree together, "a symbol of our roots in the past and our growth for the future"!