By Cian Molloy - 03 March, 2018
Celebrate International Women’s Day on Thursday by following the example of one extraordinary woman, Mary, the Mother of God. So says Sr Carol Breslin, of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, who notes that also on 8th March, it is the UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.
“These events celebrate the contributions of women to society,” writes Sr Breslin in the MMM’s latest newsletter. “When women’s gifts are suppressed and unacknowledged all of humanity suffers as a result. This year, International Women’s Day follows on a new movement for women’s rights, equality and justice.
“As MMMs, we seek to emulate the attitudes shown by an extraordinary woman, Mary, Mother of God. Far from a passive and unquestioning human being, she was a person of reflection and action.”
On learning that she was to be the mother of Jesus, Mary went to share the news with her cousin Elizabeth and to help Elizabeth with her own childbirth. Sr Breslin notes, “On arrival she proclaimed what God had done for her and announced that God had brought down the powerful and lifted up the lowly – quite a revolutionary message!”
Indeed, looking over what we know about the life of the Blessed Virgin, Sr Breslin says, “A poor woman, Mary had to give birth in difficult circumstances; at the time, she was homeless and made do with a manger for her child. She was often left to ponder on what promised to be a controversial future for her son. Sensitive and kind, she called his attention to the dilemma of a young couple when the wine ran out at their wedding.
“At what seemed to be the end of the disciples’ hopes, with other women and the beloved disciple she stood near the Cross of Jesus. Later, she was part of the company of believers as they devoted themselves to prayer while awaiting the coming of the Spirit.
“Like Mary and our foundress, Mother Mary Martin, Medical Missionaries of Mary seek to be women of contemplation and action – to be women who are in solidarity with those who are suffering and ready to work to bring healing with those in need.”
The Medical Missionaries of Mary were founded in Ireland by Mother Mary Martin in 1937, after the Vatican lifted a prohibition on Religious Sisters serving as doctors or midwives. Originally founded to serve in Africa, the Congregation now has about 400 sisters serving in 14 countries including Brazil and the USA.