Seo agus Siud November 2017            

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Marie’s Visitors

Chuck had come from California and Russ from Canada to be with their brother, Dr Brendan McDevitt  at the launch of Brendan’s debut novel, “What Do You See, Dr Stone”

Russ McDevitt is also an author and has six action-packed novels to his name. See below.

Marie Mc Devitt with her 2 brothers, Cathal (Chuck) and Eamonn (Russ) .

Bridín Feeds Her Feathered Friends

Some Photos from the Recent Assembly at Wynn’s Hotel

Sincere thanks to all for the prayers, masses and messages of sympathy you sent me after my sister Sadie’s death. R.I.P.  She was in her 95th year, had a good life and a relatively short final illness. She died in Galway Regional Hospital surrounded by her family. Mass will be offered for your intentions.  Luca Henry  


Thank you Sisters for your kind expressions of sympathy when my sister Bernadette died. RIP.  I am grateful to all who attended the funeral Mass and for the Masses, letters, text messages I received.  They have been a great source of comfort to me.  A Mass will be offered for your intentions.

Gratefully, Frances Faul

Our Deceased Sisters

Blessed are they who mourn  for they shall be comforted Sr Mochua McNicholas       1917 - 2017

Sincere thanks to every Sister and every Community for your expression of concern for us, the Carrickmacross Community, and for your prayers and Masses.
These are much appreciated at this sensitive time
                                                    The Carrickmacross Community

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Tributes to Mary Jo

At a recent meeting in Carrick, Associates gathered to renew their commitment and to give thanks and pay tribute to Mary Jo Hand for her years of dedication and work with the Associates

A Tribute by Berni Johnston

This evening is a very poignant celebration for us Associates in Carrick this year.  We have just heard that the sisters here have to vacate the convent for safety reasons.  There is a mixture of joy and sorrow, deep gratitude and a loneliness.  Not only have we renewed our commitment but we are also saying goodbye to one of the founding sisters of the St. Louis Associates – Sr Mary Jo Hand.  What a shining light she has been to all of us.

When the idea of lay associates first stirred in Mary Jo and others, over twenty years ago, they didn’t just let it lie there to wither and die, as is the fate of many great ideas that never come to fruition.  When I was a youngster, certain visitors to our house used to voice their intentions to accomplish certain dreams but those dreams never materialised.  My father used to say to me “No man ever ploughed a field by turning it over in his head”.  The founding group of sisters knew it would take a huge amount of hard work, time and dedicated commitment on their part, for this idea to become a reality but they never faltered.  A great deal of prayer, reflection and soul searching must have gone into this project but their vision and commitment never wavered.  When the Associates were finally formed and up and running, everything seemed to us, to run like clockwork. So relaxed, and stress free were the meetings, we felt at home from the word go.  To achieve that lovely atmosphere, we know now, that every aspect of those gatherings had to have been plotted, planned and executed with military precision in keeping with the high standards we have come to admire in the St Louis Sisters.  Because of Mary Jo and others’ vision and powers of persuasion branches of the Associates were soon established in Donegal, Belfast, Monaghan, Dublin, Mayo, Dundalk and Carrickmacross.

It’s almost impossible to define Mary Jo as she’s a dynamo, a lady who wears many hats – a rare, multi-talented bundle of energy and joy.  Isn’t that what we are all called to be - joyful, energetic Christians.  We’ve been blessed to have her mentoring our group because we were the lucky recipients of all her giftedness.  She’s also a very pragmatic, down to earth person who doesn’t stand on ceremony.  Her warm smile and boundless enthusiasm was so infectious that every one of us felt instantly welcomed and very much at home in the St Louis family.  With Catherine, she created a very safe environment for us to explore as adults the faith we had inherited from our parents, some of us for the first time.

The word educate means to draw out, and Mary Jo was a true educator.  She didn’t just fill us with knowledge, though we learned plenty.  Instead she had an uncanny ability to coax what was best in each of us out into the light.  Who wouldn’t feel valued, treasured and thrive in the company of someone, who constantly validated our opinions by voicing her firm conviction that the Holy Spirit was indeed working in each of us?  There is a new book out called “I’ve Found My Tribe”.  Well here we found out tribe and our voices.  Every trade has its own language and sometimes in our reading or discussions we came across theological terms that we didn’t understand.  The willingness of participants to reveal their lack of understanding, or ignorance about a subject is a good barometer to measure the compassion and approachability of a mentor.  We hadn’t the slightest hesitation in showing our vulnerabilities and weaknesses.  Because we were always respected we grew in confidence.  We could meet in total honesty and we know now that that is the only authentic way to explore our faith.

We, in the Associates, grew up in an Ireland where people of different faith traditions rarely interacted and viewed each other with at the best mistrust, and often with deep suspicion.  In nailing our colours firmly to the St Louis mast and taking the Sint Unum motto as our own we have changed.  The Turkenstein Pact, signed on the feast of The Sacred Heart 1797, is as relevant to us in the world today as it was over 200 years ago.  Mary Jo has helped us to come to the realisation that we really are one.  We know that even though there is remarkable diversity among people and nature there is also unity and everything is connected.  So, not alone is this lady a visionary she is also a catalyst – we’ve been changed and that is good.  To grow is to change, and to mature, is to have changed often.  Like any catalyst Mary Jo prodded us out of our comfort zone and she did it in the nicest possible way!  From her we knew that we can become prisoners of comfort, like pools of stagnant water, going nowhere, doing nothing.  She has taught us that we will never be finished products, until we close our eyes for the last time.  If we ever think we are anything but works in progress, we will be in serious trouble because we’ll be dead long before we are put in the coffin.

One of Mary Jo’s most beguiling attributes is her joi de vivre and her sense of humour.  No matter how serious our reading or discussions we always left Carrick feeling lighter, better due in no small part to her anecdotes and quips.  Her timekeeping was impeccable.  Sometimes we were so engrossed in the discussion we could have stayed longer quite happily but when we saw Mary Jo rolling up her sleeve to look at the watch we knew it was time to call a halt to proceedings.  In conclusion, we will remember an old Jewish Proverb and say not in sorrow “Mary Jo has gone from our group but live in thankfulness that she was in our group.”

A Tribute by Teresa Carolan

It is my privilege and honour on behalf of our group to thank Mary Jo for her guidance and help over the last few years.

She has journeyed with us and watched us grow in faith and indeed in all aspects of our lives.

She has prompted us out of our comfort zone to embrace new challenges and new projects.  As someone once said; “she comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.”

A gifted educator, quick thinking, good humoured and fun loving are just a few of the many qualities that Mary Jo possesses.  It has been a joy for us to be part of what has been a deep learning curve.  We are very grateful to be part of the St. Louis Family (as Associates) and for the welcome we always receive at national or at local level.

As a group we have bonded very well and feel very much at home in each other’s company.  This is as a result of Mary Jo’s participation and foundation laying, trailblazing stewardship – all done in a wonderous manner with her unique ability.

When we went to try to put into words all the work that has gone on and what Mary Jo has done for us, we thought we would recite a poem to best explain it.  I recited “The Scaffolding” by Seamus Heaney.

In conclusion, we want to reassure Mary Jo that we, as the wall she has built, will stand secure and hopefully stand the test of time and be able to live all our life experiences to the full in the spirit of Sint Unum.

It is very significant that we have made our commitment on World Mission Sunday 2017 with its theme of “Reach out and Spread Joy.”  Mary Jo has definitely reached out to us and touched our hearts and most definitely spread joy.  Hopefully we will be able to continue this wonderful tradition. Thank you.

Carrickmacross Associates Renew Commitment

The Associates renewed their commitment in Carrickmacross on Mission Sunday October 22nd 2017.  It was a most poignant celebration this year.  On arrival at the convent, we were shocked to hear that the sisters have to vacate the convent because of safety concerns.  This is a time of great upheaval and uncertainty for the sisters.  It was a day of great joy and sorrow because we were also saying goodbye to one of the founding sisters of the Associates – Sr. Mary Jo Hand.

A beautiful centre piece took centre stage in the community room.  It incorporated colours from the four seasons, and literature from the St. Louis African missions.  A photocopy of the original Turkenstein pact with the signatures of the three signatories was displayed, as was reading material the Associates had studied over the last year.

Sr. Catherine Brennan prepared a thought-provoking and very apt booklet whose theme was change, uncertainty, insecurity and hope – the very challenges the sisters in Carrick are facing now.  The booklet was prepared in advance of the news about the convent.  If proof were needed on the promptings of the Holy Spirit this was surely it.  After the associates renewed their commitment they prayed over the sisters with a special blessing assuring them of their support at this difficult time.

Teresa and Bernie paid fitting tributes to Mary Jo and thanked her for all her guidance, commitment and hard work with the Associates.  Teresa read the poem “Scaffolding” by Seamus Heaney at the end to reassure Mary Jo that the structure she was leaving behind was strong and would withstand any future challenges.  Máire McGrane gave a beautiful rendition of “You Raise Me Up” on the violin.  Colette and Marie presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a plaque on which was inscribed a poem by fellow countryman – Patrick Kavanagh.  This was followed by chat and delicious refreshments provided by the sisters and shared with them in the dining room.
                                                                                                                                    Teresa Carolan

Teresa Carolan, Colette Daly, Mary Jo, Marie Duffy, Berni Johnston, Mary Mc Grane

Displayed on Centrepiece
Tomorrow's Catholic, Ethiopia Brochure, Laudate Si, Nigerian Calendar, Copy of Triple Signatures