Golden and Diamond Jubilee Celebrations


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Sr Kathleen McGarvey (OLA Provincial Head), Sr Stephanie Greene, Sr Dympna McEneaney

 

This past Saturday, 8 September 2018, saw the Missionary Sisters of our Lady of Apostles celebrating the lives of two very special women.  Sr Stephanie Greene was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee and Sr Dympna McEneaney her Golden Jubilee.  We also remembered Sr Cassie Hurley who is on Mission in Tanzania and will be celebrating her Golden Jubilee on Mission Sunday.

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Sr Stephanie Greene with her family

 

Sr Stephanie reflects back with nostalgia on the day she made her profession in September 1958, stating that she is the last of her group remaining. Sixty years of service to mission is no small feat, and she recalls with some amusement that when she left her work as an office administrator at Dunnes Stores in Cork, Ireland, to join OLA, her boss was somewhat concerned with her decision, and offered to personally go and get her and return her to her family if she was unhappy.

Sr Stephanie is a gentle woman whose humility and love of God shines through. She speaks with fondness of people passed and times gone by.

Her mission saw her travel to Nigeria in 1962, and then back to London to train as a teacher before returning to Lagos. She was involved in both teaching and pastoral work in Nigeria, in the areas of Lagos, Ikeja and Maryland, and also spent some time dealing with the challenges of the building industry while the Maryland Convent Private School building was being erected.

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Sr Stephanie Greene during her time in Maryland, Nigeria

 

Sr Stephanie then spend 6 years in Dublin working with the Carmelite order in Gort Mhuire retreat centre before moving on to Rome as English Secretary and later, General Bursar. While working in Rome she visited Lebanon, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Chad and Argentina.

When asked about the highlights in her mission life, she said that she especially loved her time in Africa, and was very grateful for the opportunities she was afforded to travel while working in Rome.

After her time in Rome, she spent several years teaching in London and working in the parish in West Green where she is still fondly remembered.

Sr Stephanie is described as kindly and thoughtful by all whose lives she has touched and is still very much an active member of the OLA community. Based in Ardfoyle, she runs the Mission Crown office, corresponding with some 700 members throughout Ireland.

When asked when she thinks she might retire, she just smiles cryptically.

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Sr Dympna McEneaney with OLA Superior General, Sr Mary T. Barron

 

Sr Dympna, an Ulster native, was 24 years old when she joined the OLA Sisters, having worked for the civil service in the tax office straight out of school. She always believed there was something more she was called to do, and made her profession in 1968.

She’s a complex woman with a deeply spiritual core and varied interests, including Indian Head Massage and Reiki.  Her calling has taken her to some of the remotest regions of Africa and provided a treasure of experience.

From nursing college in Glasgow; specialising in midwifery in Drogheda; to a small clinic in Lagos, Nigeria, and then on to providing, community work and primary healthcare in the remote, northern villages of Nigeria, Sr Dympna employed her passionate interest in different cultures and traditional beliefs in her ministry.

She spent some time back in Dublin and then Rome where she learned Arabic.  The intention was that she would go to Sudan, but she was unable to get a visa, and so travelled to Niger instead where she spent seven years working and ministering, specifically to women.

After a four-year interlude back in Ireland, Sr Dympna went to Algeria, a country that is 95% Muslim. There she lived among the people, her mission being a ‘presence’ among the people. As stated in an article she wrote, “[Being present] is being with the people in their joys and sorrows and in the ‘ordinary’ of the every day! It is attending their marriages, visiting them when there is a birth or death in the family and taking part in the social side of their religious feasts. Over the years the Sisters have discovered the secret of speaking without words, of revealing the beauty of the Gospel without any fuss.”

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From left, Sr Majella McCarron, Sr Dympna McEneaney, Sr Mary Barron,
Sr Kathleen McGarvey, Sr Kate Costigan, Sr Agnes Haverty

 

In the last few years Sr Dympna has been involved in working with asylum seekers in Cois Tine, and with Direct Provision in Kinsale.  She also spent a few months in Mwanza, Tanzania and is currently based in Rostrevor where she is very much involved with the local community.

There is a wistful air about her as she shares that one of the highlights of her varied and adventurous life, was a time spent sleeping under the stars in the Niger desert. She loves the silence and the remoteness of the desert and says it is a memory she will always carry close.

Sr Dympna remains grounded in the present, believing that one needs to be fully engaged in each moment. As she stated in a previous article, “The future is not in our hands.”

We celebrated these extraordinary women on Saturday in Ardfoyle , surrounded by the OLA community and family members.  Fr Collum presided over the Eucharist and Sr Kathleen McGarvy, the OLA Provincial Head gave the welcome address. You can read it in full here.