Memories

...instruments of mercy in the hand of God...

Introduction to the Memories Project.

As we reflected together as a team on how we might honour the 200th anniversary of our foundation, one of the thoughts that came to us was to collect memories/stories.  It was probably triggered by Maria Raleigh Higgins offering an article about Castlecor and suggesting that it might be put in the archives for future generations.  That made us reflect on the richness of experience and memory that we hold together- often unspoken and undocumented.

On foot of this we asked a few people to be contact persons in the different regions and gave them the task of inviting contributions. Thanks to each of you who agreed to be a contact person- prodding and reminding.   As time went on we put a closing date on contributions – December 31st 2016.  However, quite a number have come since then and the door is still open.  The brief we gave was simple:  Write about a memory associated with DMJ that has stayed with you, impacted on your life and that you feel you can share.  The project was open to current members, former members, Associates and anyone who has had a DMJ connection.

We now begin to share with you the fruits of this ‘gathering’.  At intervals over the coming months there will be groups of memories available on the public side of the website.  That will continue until we have exhausted our supply.   If you read this and haven’t written, please feel free to send a contribution.  If you can send it as an email attachment, so much the better.  You can send it to dmjcontact@googlemail.com   We have typed and re-typed some but that is time consuming, as you know.  If you have submitted a contribution and it doesn’t appear, please remind us as it may just have slipped through the cracks.  We don’t want to lose any but there may be human error and we might need reminding.

We plan to put these on the website in groups and in no particular order.  At the end of the day we will see what we have in its entirety and how we might put them together in a bound version for those who like to turn pages.  If you have a photo/graphic that you feel would enhance a contribution, please feel free to send it and we will try to include it.

Memories by their very nature are subjective and may have flaws and inaccuracies but for the writer they contain what stays with them of an experience.  We are conscious that in describing an experience there may be people who were part of it and aren’t mentioned.  Many of us are at a stage where our memories aren’t the sharpest.  So please don’t be offended at any omissions.  It’s not that you were overlooked –just that the memory is often hazy.

Stories are so powerful and they mirror to us who and what we are and what extraordinary lives we have led- even the most ‘ordinary’ of us have lived multi-faceted and quite amazing lives.  We honour them and those who journeyed with us in naming these memories.  They are a kind of mosaic through which we see ourselves and each other in a new light.  Many do not speak at all of charism or any of the spiritual things.  Yet, the stories convey so much of the spirituality, the stoicism and the humour that sustained us through difficult times.  They testify to companionship, solidarity, courage and lives well lived.  So much of the gospel message is transmitted through story and what an impact it has made over 2000 years.

Most of the memories are from the living.  However, we have included a few bits from the archives and from those who are no longer with us.  In due course there will be some historical contributions pertaining to the two world wars as experienced in Belgium and in England.  There are also some few life stories from sisters who have gone to God.

We have enjoyed gathering the memories and putting them together.  We hope that you will enjoy reading them and that occasionally you may shed a tear or laugh out loud at the more quirky memories.

Thank you for being interested.  Let us celebrate together the 200 years of life that our small congregation has enjoyed and let us hand these to the next generation so that they will know the rock from which they are hewn.