Sr Mary Finbar
Born in a rural area in County Longford, number three in the family, I grew up as all children that society provided in those days. I enjoyed a happy family life and attended the local school, partook of all the activities in the parish etc. Having completed the National school period, I went to the convent school under the care of the Sisters of Mercy, a four mile bicycle spin every day as most teenagers in the country did. I signed in for a commercial course in shorthand, typing and book keeping, and all was wonderful. During this time I made new friends and the day came when we had to say ‘Goodbye’ and move on…..
To find a job was my next step and after consulting the daily paper I found a vacancy as a shop assistant in Dublin and then moved on. After a short time one of my former school friends found a job in Dublin and invited me to meet up with her. I told her I was already working in Dublin and within a very short time we did meet in Dublin where I discovered she was working with the Daughters of the Cross in their hospital for sick children in Cabinteely.
Having visited her a few times I asked if I too might find a job there and to my great joy I was accepted. Life was just so good and the Sisters were so nice that after one year I made another petition namely if I could join the order. During this time, another mission opened up for the Sisters in Brazil and the urge became part of me if and when I would love to go there.
In 1952 I was admitted to the congregation, went to England, did my formation course whilst all the time nursing a desire to go to the new mission and each year on renewing my vows, renewed my desire to go to Brazil. Time passed and on August 16th 1960, having made my final vows in Liege, the Mother General gave permission for my dream and within four weeks I was sailing for fifteen days until I reached my destination, where for forty five years I had all the blessings I could ask for. I did a special course in nursing and midwifery, and there was nobody more happy than I was working with the poorest of the poor, attending the sick and aged in their homes, delivering babies at all times and in the most difficult situations. I did parish work, organised liturgies, out door dispensaries, it was nonstop and most fulfilling.
What I really want to say is that when God calls for whatever reason, he most certainly gives the strength as in my case. I just felt that He led me on and there was no reason to fear as all my plans were ‘espontaneos’ and there was never a time when I was left to despair of the steps I took.
Happy days. I repeat, in every sense of the word. Ups and downs yes, lonely days too but happily no regrets, I would do it all over again. Now after my forty five years in mission life, I came back to Ireland six years ago but……..my body has, but my spirit lives on out there in my prayers, in my dreams, and in my spare time I knit scarves, sell them and the money is for the people I have left behind. I want to insist that ‘It is no secret what God can do, just allow him to’.