Limerick & Killaloe
Diocesan President – Lucy Kavanagh
Mothers Union Report 2021
THEME FOR 2021 – “Rebuilding Hope & Confidence”
MISSION STATEMENT –
- Developing prayer and spiritual growth in families.
- Studying and reflecting on family life and marriage and their place in society.
- Resourcing our members to take practical action to improve conditions for families, both nationally and in the communities in which they live.
DIOCESAN OFFICE BEARERS:
President: Lucy Kavanagh
Diocesan Secretary: Rose Langley
Diocesan Treasurer: Betty Delahunt
All Ireland President: June Butler
All Ireland Chaplain: Canon Robert Deane
Worldwide President: Sheran Harper
January 2021: At the start of 2021 we still found ourselves being affected by Covid 19 restrictions and many of our plans for the year were in jeopardy. At the end of 2020 several of our members had entered the MU Christmas Card competition and we were delighted when one of our members won first prize and another the second prize! During Covid we continued with varying competitions to engage our members and to bring us together in a virtual way.
February/March: Plans were well underway for our major Mums in May Triennial Fundraiser and one of the projects that this fund supports is our outreach to Women’s Refuges in the diocese. Our Ballinasloe Branch supports Esker House Women’s Refuge and in February, with aid from the fund, they were able to buy much needed equipment for the refuge such as a microwave, kettle, toaster and much more.
April: As a thank you to all our members for their support and for what they achieve for Mothers’ Union an Easter Reflection written by our Diocesan Chaplain, Canon Jane Galbraith, and also an Easter gift from the Diocesan Trustees was sent to each member. This was made possible through a grant from the Mums in May Fund. A quote from one Branch Leader: “Yesterday we ventured out to deliver the MU gift to all our members. The surprises on the member’s faces said it all. We have since received a number of messages of gratitude from the ladies who really appreciated the effort we had put into producing the gift bags and also taking the time to personally deliver each and every one.
May: Mothers’ Union members took part in a Campaign to have “Refuges Treated As Homeless Providers”. This entailed lobbying TD’s and Senators and the Minister for Social Protection to have our refuges treated as Homeless Providers for those who seek their protection. This would make a huge difference financially to these refuges which are already so stretched that not everyone who needs access to a refuge in a time of need can avail of it.
June/July: With our branches still closed due to Covid 19 we were hoping that by the autumn this would change. To that end the All Ireland Trustees hosted a meeting at the end of June regarding the safe reopening of branches laying out all the necessary protocols which would need to be in place for this to happen.
September: What a wonderful few days we had when June Butler, All Ireland President, visited our diocese to complete her fundraising walks for the Mums in May Fund. On the evening of Sunday 5th September June spoke at our Festival service in St. Mary’s Cathedral. The service was led by Dean Niall Sloane, and also in attendance were Bishop Kenneth Kearon, Canon Jane Galbraith and Rev Bernie Daly. Prior to the service members from around the diocese had refreshments in the Hunt Museum. On the Monday, following Morning Prayer in the Cathedral June, accompanied by Lucy Kavanagh and some members walked from the cathedral and out along the riverbank to the University of Limerick. It is a beautiful walk and before long we had completed our first of three 7k walks. On Tuesday we walked in Adare starting in St. Nicholas Church and then continuing along the riverbank and through the beautiful village of Adare and finishing at the Woodlands Hotel in time for lunch with several members. On Wednesday June completed her third walk in our diocese in Ballinasloe taking in the beautiful scenery along the river Suck. June then travelled to the diocese of Tuam to complete her three walks there! June’s Fundraising efforts were very successful and this will ensure that the Mums in May Fund is in a healthy state for future projects!
October: At the end of October we bid farewell to Bishop Kenneth Kearon. A huge thank you must go to Bishop Kenneth for his unstinting support of Mothers’ Union over the years. We will always be grateful for his leadership and guidance.
November: Our Vigil Against Gender Based Violence was held in St. Mary’s Cathedral at the end of November where a small group of us gathered together. Canon Jane Galbraith led us through a very visual and powerful vigil starting with a reflection and then going on to list the many ways that gender based violence can be perpetrated. The service was live streamed to the diocese as so many members could not attend. Also as part of the 16 Days of Activism we had sent out Prayer Diaries with prayers for each of the 16 days to all our members and clergy in the diocese.
December: As usual we sold lots of Christmas cards, MU diaries and calendars. The sale of these items make up a huge part of our fundraising efforts and a grateful thanks to all those who purchase them.
Our Diocesan Projects: We continue to work with our Women’s Refuges, Thomond House, Adapt House and Esker House, supplying care packages, bed linen, toys, kitchen equipment and much more. This all helps when women, and their children, who have experienced a huge struggle in their lives, when everything they have known has been taken away from them and are trying to get their lives back on track. We also give gifts and a hamper at Christmas to the women in Thomond House, Christmas hampers to Clare Street Men’s Hostel and Esker House in Athlone which Ballinasloe Branch work closely with.
AFIA Project: Away From It All Fund over the past year was able to help several families to get a much needed break or treat, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to do so. Please keep this fund in mind if you feel that there is a family that comes to your attention who could benefit from this fund. We also are able to fund children going to Camp, swimming lessons etc.
Knitting Project: We continue with our Knitting Project and have been able to supply the premature baby units in the Mid-West Maternity Hospital and Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe with much needed items for babies including little Angel Wraps for stillborn babies. Some of our members have also made Fiddle Blankets for the residents of nursing homes and toys for children in women’s refuges.
Emergency Hospital Bags Project has supplied our hospitals with bags for patients who come into hospital in an emergency and have nothing with them. These emergency bags are very much appreciated by the staff and recipients.
I would like to thank our diocesan Chaplain, Rev Canon Jane Galbraith who, as a member, is a great support to us and always on hand to help.Bishop Kenneth has been very supportive of Mothers’ Union in the Diocese and it is greatly appreciated. Also, the support throughout the Diocese from parishioners, clergy etc. is very important to us and very much appreciated.
Despite the difficulties of the past while we have worked hard to continue our support of our projects. A huge thank you must go to our Branch leaders who work so hard with their members to achieve this.
Throughout the last year huge changes have taken place within Mothers’ Union as we continue to respond to the needs of others in a hugely changing world. Our core values remain the same and give us the strength to “Rebuild Hope & Confidence” as we undertake all that we do.
Lucy Kavanagh, Diocesan President