On Sunday 13th September a plaque was unveiled in North William Street, Dublin. It was on this site the Congregation was founded in 1815. The idea surfaced about three years ago and the community of the Daughters of Charity living there were most supportive and encouraging. It was suggested that we wait until the bicentenary and have it as part of the celebrations.
At the beginning of this year work began on it. Fr Brian Lawless, the parish priest, suggested Sunday the 13th September for the day to unveil it as he was saying Mass to mark the year of Consecrated Life, inaugurated by Pope Francis. Sr Bridget O’Connor DC, the parish sister, was most helpful in every possible way.
It was here in North William Street on 1st September 1815, that Mary Aikenhead and Catherine Walsh made temporary vows and the following year began visitation of the sick poor on 10th September. It was also a reason to celebrate and give thanks as it was this year on 18th March 2015 that Mary Aikenhead was declared Venerable by Pope Francis.
The Mass was beautiful. Fr Lawless gave us all a great welcome and had some very apt and inspiring words on Mary Aikenhead. The organist and choir were there especially for the occasion. Sr. Mary Christian gave a very appropriate and moving reflection after the Gospel.
A beautiful centre piece to Mary Aikenhead was in a prominent place just inside the altar rails and plenty of literature was available at the back of the Church.
After Mass people went outside and Sr. Mary spoke briefly of the significance of the plaque being erected during the bicentenary year and on the site where Mary Aikenhead founded the Congregation 200 years ago. She then unveiled the plaque and Fr. Lawless blessed it. The school children sang a hymn accompanied by their teacher.
The Sisters who were present were then invited into the convent for a cup of tea together with some Christian Brothers including Br Donal Blake who wrote ‘Mary Aikenhead Servant of the Poor’. There was a warm welcome and great hospitality from the Daughters of Charity.
It was a beautiful, memorable and moving occasion. Sincere thanks to all who made it possible and to all who participated to make this day so special at such a time and in such a place.