It began when I was four. I picked primroses for the May altar on the way to school every day. I sang, “Bring flowers of the Fairest” with full heart, even though I didn’t understand the words. When I was eight my grandfather told me I would be a nun. His words stayed with me. The arrival of the Sisters of Mercy in our village in 1954 opened up a new world of music and participation in parish activities.
I joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1965 and chose a motto for life – “My song will be of Mercy”. Teaching Junior Infants for ten years renewed my sense of wonder at the marvels of nature and life.
I went to Peru in 1984. My own struggles helped me to identify with those of the people. On Good Friday, 1991, my three year-old neighbour, Andrea, knocked on our door. She broke a bread roll in two, gave me half of it and told me to take it and eat. The meaning of Eucharist and sharing took on new depth for me. Through my work in a school with children with special needs, I discovered Music therapy.
In 1995, I went to New York to train as a Music Therapist. An essential part of the training was exploring my life’s journey. From 1998 – 2002, I worked as a Music Therapist and Spiritual Co-Ordinator in a predominantly Jewish hospital in the Bronx, New York. The presence of patients from other cultures and religious backgrounds challenged me to define my own beliefs. At a gathering of staff and residents, on September 11th 2001, when Eva, a Jewish woman, said, ‘We are all one at a time like this’, I experienced a moment of oneness with myself, those around me and The Creator.
I returned to Ireland in 2002. It is a changed country. I am a different person. I treasure the people and experiences that have supported me in my quest to deepen my Song of Mercy. I am grateful for the past. I rejoice in the present. I look with hope to the future, wherever it may lead.
My life continues to be enriched by all these experiences.