The 22nd July is a significant day for the Sisters of Charity because it was on this day in 1858 that our foundress Mary Aikenhead died in Harold’s Cross, Dublin. The room where she lived the last years of her life and where she died is preserved in the Congregation’s Heritage Centre.
This year the day was marked by two special events – a Prayer Service and a Mass.
During the day sisters visited Mary Aikenhead’s room to pray together for a while. Every hour, on the hour, groups of sisters arrived at the Heritage Centre and went to Mary Aikenhead’s room for a short prayer service.
In the evening over 120 sisters gathered in Donnybrook Convent Chapel to celebrate Mass together and then visit Mary Aikenhead’s grave in the cemetery. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Martin Clarke, the parish priest in Donnybrook, who spoke about the energy and vitality of Mary Aikenhead – an energy and vitality that is still alive today in the ministries of the sisters throughout the world. It was re-affirming and heat-warming for the sisters to hear the story of Mary Aikenhead in such and encouraging and re-affirming way as they try to live out the charism of Mary Aikenhead in this day and age.
Fr. Martin’s homily re-echoed the words of the Psalm – “Who will speak and work for the poor if we don’t?”
All of these events were marked by a joyous atmosphere of celebration and gratitude. It was wonderful to see sisters from every part of the Congregation come together and also to be joined by Margaret Stewart, a friend of the Sisters of Charity in Australia. It was a truly international gathering! The sense of celebration carried on in the Day Centre after Mass where the wonderful hospitality of the Donnybrook community was enjoyed by all.