Irish Eyes Were Smiling

…and so were eyes from Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria, and Australia, when I participated in a Dublin gathering of the Religious Sisters of Charity in mid-July. They were gathered for a variety of reasons: a week-long workshop on trafficking, a formation conference, the final vow preparation for some sisters from Africa, and the 154th anniversary celebration of their foundress, Mary Aikenhead. UNANIMA board member Pat Kenny RSC and Suzette Clark RSC made sure all of them knew me–and all about UNANIMA–before we were finished! Pat is going to send a description of their meeting about trafficking for the next Update.

I also met with Holy Union Sister (and UNANIMA board member) Denise O’Brien, who took me on a jaunt to Newgrange, an archaeological site older than the pyramids, and showed me the Irish countryside. She also updated me on her extensive work against fracking, coordinated with other communities in the British Isles. A high-energy meeting with the Brigidine Sisters’ leadership team gave me many good ideas about interacting with our communities. And I had a proper Irish tea with Therese Fitzgerald, a Sister of Sion who volunteers with an organization in Belfast called EMBRACE NI. In the course of their work with migrants and refugees they have produced wonderful print and online resources for parish work.  I only regretted not getting to meet with the two other UNANIMA communities in Ireland, the Sisters of Bon Secours and the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, but that will give me an excuse to go back!

This visit to Ireland just underlined the fact that UNANIMA certainly does not “happen” only at the United Nations—just this small sampling shows how these communities are working in most areas of UNANIMA’s mission: trafficking, water, migration/ refugees. This is where the real work is going on; we will tell the UN about it!