Missionary work is difficult, demanding and at times dangerous. Missionaries leave behind the lives they know in the countries of their birth to live long-term in communities beset with poverty, political unrest and harsh climates.
They choose this path inspired by their faith and the belief that they are called on to devote their lives to bringing hope and a better life to those furthest behind. They expect no reward and no commendation, seeing success in terms of the lives that are lifted out of extreme poverty into self-sufficiency.
While missionaries are a characteristically humble community, the value of their important work and the unique missionary approach to development is widely recognised and respected. In 2021 our members found their way into the spotlight on numerous occasions, through awards and press coverage that brought attention to their transformative accomplishments.
Presidential Distinguished Service Awards
In December, four Irish missionaries belonging to Misean Cara members were honoured with Distinguished Service Awards conferred on them by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. They received these awards in recognition of their significant contributions as members of the Irish diaspora. Sr. Pat Murray of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) and Fr. Kevin O’Hara of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society received their 2020 Awards (postponed due to COVID-19) along with Sr. Orla Treacy of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) and Br. Colm O’Connell of the Patrician Brothers, who were among the 2021 recipients. Their work exemplifies the ongoing impact of missionary work around the world.
Sr. Orla Treacy, receiving a Presidential Distinguished Service Award from President
of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
Photo: Sr. Carmel Swords
Memoirs of a Missionary Human Rights Defender
In 2021, Fr. Gabriel Dolan of Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society (Kiltegans), published a book of stories and memoirs of more than four decades of work as a human rights defender and activist in Kenya and founder of the Haki Yetu human rights organisation in Mombasa. Undaunted: Stories of Freedom in a Shackled Society chronicles his time focusing on political and democratic rights as well as the right to land, housing, shelter and freedom of speech for the marginalised peoples of Kenya.
Fr. Gabriel Dolan (right) of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society (SPMS) standing with Kevin Mabonge from Independent Medical Legal Unit IMLU at the at the launch of his book Undaunted: Stories of Freedom in a Shackled Society chronicling his four decades as a human rights defender and activist in Kenya.
Photo: Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society
Mission Sunday Mass on RTÉ
For the sixth year in a row, Misean Cara was pleased to be involved in the preparation of a Mass in celebration of World Mission Sunday on 24th October. The Mass, aired live on RTÉ (Ireland’s state television channel), was the result of a collaboration with MISSIO Ireland (The Holy Father’s official charity for overseas mission) and AMRI (The Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland).
Mission Sunday is the day set aside each year for the Catholic Church’s annual appeal for spiritual and financial support in aid of the life-transforming work of overseas mission and missionaries. It is also a day to reflect on this important work and for Catholics around the world to seek inspiration from it to renew their own call to personal mission. The Mass for 2021 had as its Celebrant Fr. Brendan Carr of the Spiritans (and former Misean Cara Board Vice-Chair). Sr. Rosemary Oduol of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa was one of the readers.
Sr. Rosemary Oduol (Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Africa) and Fr. Brendan Carr (Spiritans) who participated in the Mission Sunday Mass live Broadcast on RTÉ, along with members of In Caelo Choir (Newbridge, Co. Kildare), Sr. Josephine Enenmo (Our Lady of Apostles), Julieann Moran of MISSIO Ireland, and vocalist Orna Bourke.
Photo: MISSIO Ireland and Julieann Moran
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