Gathering of Marist Brothers in Ireland
The Brothers in Ireland gathered in the community in Moyle Park on Saturday, 28th November. Brother Brendan opened the meeting by spending a few moments to remember Brother Benedict McGranahan, who died on 25th September, and to welcome Brother Wilfrid Harrison, who has joined the Marian College community. The morning programme was devoted to Safeguarding matters. Brother Brendan spoke in his introduction about the impact of revelations of abuse, which begun 22 years ago. We have all learned a great deal over the past 20 years. Fortunately, the Brothers have benefited from good leadership during that time.
Marie Collins, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, spoke about her personal experience, and also shared the painful story about what happened when she found the courage to speak about her abuse. The Brothers were moved when they heard her story and expressed their gratitude to her during the morning. Marie went on to talk about her work as a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, outlining the various committees that are working together to raise the profile of this issue across the Catholic Church. The Commission is making efforts to highlight the protection of children and vulnerable adults, as well as providing leadership to prevent any kind of abuse in the Church.*
At the end of the morning Brother P.J. McGowan explained the new Safeguarding policy for the Marist Brothers in Ireland. Brother Brendan then informed the Brothers that the National Audit of Safeguarding practice for the Marist Brothers in Ireland will take place from 2nd – 3rd December. The results of the audit will be made public in March.
During the afternoon Sister Mary Neville and Sister Sheila McElroy, missionary sisters who had worked with the Brothers in Cameroon, spoke about care of religious in their elder years. Sister Mary has worked in the area of the care of retired missionary sisters during the past ten years. Brother Brendan explained to the Brothers that he had asked Sister Sheila, who is a nurse, to take on the role of Delegate for Care of the Brothers in Ireland. Sister Sheila will meet each of the Brothers individually to speak to them about their needs in the area of care and personal support. The Brothers welcomed this appointment.
The Brothers expressed appreciation for the programme that had been prepared. As well as developing their awareness of matters related to Safeguarding, they also continued the conversation about important topics related to care in their elder years.
* On the 2nd February 2015, Pope Francis published a letter in which he provided information on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, established by him in March 2014. Please click on the link below to read the Pope’s letter: