Addo is famously associated with elephants, citrus and roses. And stunning they all are! However, as is so often the case, there is behind-the-scene work that goes unnoticed. And some Irish blood is to thank for that!
Sister Martha, Breda and Patricia work tirelessly, driving up and down the length of our Sundays River Valley, living the charism of their foundress Catherine McAuley, “The poor need help today, not next week”.Catherine McAuley founded this Catholic religious organisation in 1827 in Dublin, Ireland.
I had the privilege of spending some time with these wonderful nuns on a ‘normal’ day. Well, to say I am humbled simply doesn’t do humility justice. Sr. Martha was interviewed by CapeSpan (a major citrus marketing company) who donated the buildings for their crèche, “Place of Hope and Place of Mercy” in Addo’s Valencia township. The children showed off their singing skills in three languages, were given their daily lunch provided by the Sisters and Marist Brothers and ran around their playground. Adjacent to the classrooms is a converted container that is used as a sewing room and clinic, with the future plan for a nurse to administrator essential medication for those most in need and who can’t make it to the government clinic.
My next stop was with Sr. Breda, the computer whizz! She runs 10-week courses for children and adults in Addo and Kirkwood to introduce the local population to computer technology. Generous overseas donors have made this equipment possible.
I was not allowed to accompany Sr. Patricia on her teaching visits to the prison but you only need to hear some stories to realise what a valuable impact she is making.
All three nuns have multi-faceted jobs that take them in and out of the local communities on a daily basis. Not for the faint hearted, this requires major faith and love!
These Sisters of Mercy in Addo are all from Ireland, make a delicious Irish coffee and are quality company around the dinner table, regaling hilarious stories of home.
Even this does not pay tribute to these women who so humbly fulfil their vocation of serving God’s people.
To know what an asset they are, have a look at their website (Sisters of Mercy in Union) and Breda Ryan’s facebook page. Should you wish to provide assistance in any way, contact them via this website.