Page 8, 17th October 1958

17th October 1958
Page 8

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People: Mary Martin, Udoh


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Sisters Fron t in the Litte

You will meet the Medical MissionAries of Mary in highly specialised hospitals, in the little clinics of the hush. chatting with the people in

their homes, on the highways and byways, establishing friendly relations with them.

You meet the Medical Missionaries of Mary in many strange places, and circumstances you never guessed, for the life of the Medical Missionary of Mary is a rich and varied experience.

Every branch of medicine is uithin the scope of the Medical Missionary of Mary—surgery, medicine, maternity and child welfare. not to mention the wide and varied fields of preventive and social medicine.

Leprosy, smallpox and even plague are no strangers to the missionary—for the past decade the Medical Missionaries of Mary have been caring for 15,428 lepers.


rEHERE is room for • every type of specia

list on the missions. Where needs are so vast, Minima ills so great. it is difficult to lay down priorities. Perhaps most needed are gynaecologists, general surgeons and children's specialists. But over and above all. the good general doctor is the people's greatest friend.

The doctor on the missions must be well and widely trained with a social consciousness and a practical interest in community development. Today, underdeveloped people are themselves becoming aware of the need of.a better standard of living, and improved social services.

It is now that the foundations for these services are being laid, and from them the future will take shape.

The missionary doctor must be alive to this and be a person who is able to put forward in a lucid and acceptable manner the Catholic policy and viewpoint hi ,matters of medical legislation and administration.

Key people

0-11HE doctor is thus a

• key person in the establishing of a medical mission, hence the Medical Missionaries of Mary are most anxious to build up a strong core of Sister-Doctors.

But experience teaches that a doctor alone is not a medical service. The treatment prescribed

must be carried out by a competent nurse, patients must have wholesome and appetising meals. accounts must be kept, the linen must sparkle and the library be wheeled round.

It is the team that matters.

For the missions a minimum team of Sisters would include a nurse, social worker, bursar, secretary and doctor.

As time goes on in a hospital and the work develops there will be urgent pleas for a chemist, dietician. radiographer, physiotherapist. and almoner. The physiotherapist has a wide apostolate awaiting her among the lepers, and the radiographer is at a premium in the Training Schools of the M.M.M.

The new baby

THE special work of

the Medical Missionaries of Mary is the care of the mother and child. As a means of aposfolate it has proved itself second to none. Never have the Sisters found a sweeter or truer introduction to the home than the new baby". It opens the door wide to the Sisters; they get to know the whole family, even Grandma begins to realise that it is a good thing and not a waste of time off the farm, for Udoh's wife to come to the clinic every week.

An over-riding factor in all the work of the Medical Missionaries of Mary is the realisation that "it is not enough to be missionaries, we must be missionaries who know how to train our people."

These words of a great missionary are more than ever true when we come to think of the Medical Missionary of. Mary as a SisterTutor. The traditional odds are all against the African girl becoming a nurse in the true sense of the word.

Disinterested care of the sick is a eoncept almost unknown; even in the family circle an unawareness of the needs of the sick is quite common, and the young girl grows up with no background of selfless devotion to another's needs.

For her, totally new horizons , have to be opened up and made desirable: Christian charity in its full meaning is a very long road along which Sister-Tutor must lead her safely.


ON the other hand.

4 because the African nurse is for Africa, it would be a great mistake to presume that her professional training is to he at a lower level than that of the European nurse.

The period of training is no shorter nor less thorough. nor does it take them longer to reach the required standard. If any difficulties are encountered during the course of training it will always be found that these will arise from the nurse's character or temperament conditioned as everywhere else by the climate and nature of the country.

But the professional training of the nurses is not the sole or main concern of the Medical Missionaries of Mary. They aim to turn out Catholic nurses, who as a body, will make their influence felt socially and he leaders in their own land, and who individually %vitt be strong, supernatural Catholic young women, and future mothers of Catholic homes.

The Medical Missionaries of Mary care for 9,1(X) lepers in Nigeria. There is now a new approach to leprosy so some of these patients are being treated in the Leprosy Settlements and some are at home, receiving treatment and trying to live a normal life.

The advent of the sulphones has revolutionised the treatment of leprosy. The disease can now be arrested and the patient who has been in the leprosy settlement can return to normal life and should not he considered an outcast horn his people.

A leper's day

QISTER finds that the

kJ/ day in a Leprosy Settlement is not long enough. The village is not without variety. Morning sees the children off to school where all standards up to Standard VI are taught. The ablebodied do the buildings, the women weave at the looms, all give a hand at the garden for Sister sax's that all are better when

If the Sisters can fulfil the old adage "Treat the early case" and break down the prejudices so strong against the sufferer, then the end of leprosy is in sight.


WHENCE have originated these MediI cal Missionaries of Mary. you may ask?

Their foundress is Mother Mary Martin, M.M.M., who was born in Dublin. just this year they hese completed their second decade of existence, yet these twenty years have proved that the missionfields have need of them and that Sister Doctor—an innovation of twenty years ago—now receives the esteem , and confidence of all.

Their motherhouse and novitiate is at Drogheda, Ireland. The American Novitiate is at Winchester. Mass., U.S.A. Other houses in Ireland are a Sister-students' hostel at Rosemount, Bootcrstown, Dublin, a postulants' house and private hospital at Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Airnunint Maternity Hospital, Waterford. and rest houses for Sisters returning from the missions at Killybegs. Co. Donegal and Bettystown, Co. Meath.

In Naples. C Unica W editerraneit is a 100-bed modern clinic for medical. surgical and maternity patients and also a house for Italian postulants. The congregation which is international in outlook and interest now has Sisters of eleven nationalities. and at the request of the Holy See has opened, in October, 1956, at Drogheda. the first part of an International Missionary Training Hospital for all medical missionaries desiring to avail themselves of its services.

Their fifteen foreign missions lie in East and West Africa, nine in Nigeria, four in Tanganyika, one in Angola and one in Uganda.

Ins iration

THE Sisters draw the inspiration of their lives from the mystery of the Visitation. Y. hen Our Lady "went in haste" to tend her cousin in her hour of need.

The spirit which animates the Sisters is the broad spirit of charity breathed in St. Benedict's Rule, which plays an important part in their lives, while their own rules and constitutions allow them to be at the service of the sick and suffering any hour of the day or night.

This new form of apostolate on the missions was called for by the late Holy Father, Pius XI ("the Pope of the Missions") and is especially designed to meet the changing needs of our times.

The postulancy is six months. The Novitiate lasts for two years, the first being the Spiritual Year and the second being spent in the active works of the congregation. Then comes First Profession after which :Sisters may be sent on the missions or for professional training. The courses of training the Sisters follow are decided according to their aptitudes, previous education and the need of the congregation. Vows iire renewed annually for six years and then Sisters make Final Profession.

The whole bent of the congregation is missionary, its aim is to send out as many Sisters as possible to renew and extend established missions and to found new centres in response to the many appeals of missionary bishops for new foundations. It is. therefore, the privilege of most Sisters to find themselves in the front line of God's army. striving to extend Ells kingdom where pagasism now holds sway.

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