The Irish Province marked this day in a special way – Mass was celebrated by Fr. Brendan Comerford S.J. at 3 p.m. and as usual, the beautifully decorated convent chapel was filled to capacity with Sisters of Charity and Friends of Mary Aikenhead – from far and near!
Fr. Brendan Comerford gave a wonderful homily – based on the 2013 Chapter Document – ‘Companions at a new table’. He interwove the Lazarus and Dives parable with Pope Francis’s approach to the poor – supported by quotations from the writings of Mary Aikenhead.
After the homily eleven new ‘Friends of Mary Aikenhead’ were commissioned. The nine women and two men came forward to the altar steps. Sr. Phyllis Behan presented each with a lighted candle and all present prayed the following Blessing over them:
May God’s Blessing be upon you as we name you a Friend of Mary Aikenhead today.
May Mary Aikenhead be with you wherever you go.
May she inspire you to follow in the footsteps of Christ as she did.
May you be gifted by God with a part of her spirit.
May you be a true friend of Mary Aikenhead and spread this friendship wherever you go.
May you go from here in love and peace. Amen.
Each new ‘Friend of Mary Aikenhead’ was then presented with a souvenir picture.
The presence of this group brought an added dimension to the celebrations and it was lovely to see this important ‘Wing of the Congregation’ growing in numbers.
The Zambian and Nigerian drums ensured that the Offertory Procession was as lively as ever!
After the Mass we were invited to the Mary Aikenhead Centre for ‘refreshments and chat’! Following the homily and Chapter theme of ‘Companions at a New Table’ we remembered Mary Aikenhead’s own words that we must not forget charity to our own sisters – our ‘Domestics of the Faith’! This was in great evidence during the ‘cuppa’ as many of the sisters had travelled long distances to celebrate Mary Aikenhead’s birthday.
An important part of these Mary Aikenhead meetings in Donnybrook is the visit to her grave – and to the graves of our own deceased sisters and friends. The weather was very favourable for January, and during the afternoon sisters could be seen alone and in groups wending their way to the graves, before and after the Mass.