Hope on the Rampage
‘Hope on the Rampage’ is how Sister Jean Eason described the first international meeting of Associate Members of MMM held at our Motherhouse in Drogheda, Ireland. "They saw the world coming alive with possibilities, and envisioned the contribution that they can make to that world as Associate MMMs," she said.
The meeting, which included delegates from Tanzania, Ireland, the USA and Scotland, outlined the primary task as evaluating and updating the Guidelines covering Associate members in the light of lived experience. At the end of three days, a new draft of the Guidelines for the Associate Movement was produced. This was seen as ‘a work in progress’.
Phyllis Rooney acted as Secretary to the meeting, which was described as ‘hard, slogging work’.
Important questions were faced. "How do we maintain a balance between our primary vocation and our calling as Associate Members of MMM? How do we keep a balance between the spiritual and the practical, between prayer and work as in the Rule of St. Benedict?"
The question of creative partnership between Associate Members and MMM Sisters was also a topic of reflection. Could or should the Associate Members adopt a specific MMM mission, so that both might mutually benefit?
Then there was the question of how the relationship between Associate MMMs in a particular country can be strengthened. Is there some way to become more of a ‘community’?
Toni Cameron, the delegate for Ireland says:
"Before the meeting took place I expressed my doubts about what on earth we would talk about for three days. By the middle of the second day I doubted whether we’d get through all we now had on the agenda." She concluded: "The one central and burning question was how best to live our lives in partnership with MMM, spreading the healing charism of Christ."
In the USA, one of the first Associate Members, Anne Marie Kenny, says: ‘It is not so much about the big things, but all of the little things we do."
In Tanzania, the Associates meet every two months. As well as the spiritual life and socialization which strengthens a sense of belonging, they see their role as assisting the work of MMM through co-operation and prayer, and being resource persons in various ways.
Meanwhile, in Angola, things are stirring. At Tchulu, where MMM Sisters staffed the hospital for fifty years, there is great interest in forming a group of Associates. The nearest MMM Sisters are 270 km away, in Lubango. Nevertheless, graduates of the nursing school at Tchulu living now in Lubango and elsewhere are also involved in the orientation process to get things moving towards an active and committed group of Associate MMMs in the foreseeable future.