'I was in a bit of turmoil, as I had so much information to consider and digest between that and my return to Belfast.'

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'I was in a bit of turmoil, as I had so much information to consider and digest between that and my return to Belfast.'


Rosemary remembers the decision to volunteer to do missionary work in Zimbabwe.


Rosemary McCloskey


Trinity College Dublin




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Awaiting me in Helen's Bay, was a message to telephone Sr.M. Emilian. She wanted to see me next morning in Fruithill Park, where she was now living in the Generalate, having been elected Mother General of the Down and Connor Sisters of Mercy. She asked me to go to All Hallows in Dublin next day, where I was to meet with two other sisters for an information session from the Franciscans about the Mission in Zimbabwe, which she had mentioned to me earlier. I had arranged to go on holiday to Portsalon next day. Sr Emilian said she would give me lunch and I could proceed there and travel to Dublin next morning. What I had been told was an information session with the Mercy Ireland team and the Franciscans, turned out to be almost 'fait accompli,' and they had assumed that the three of us were going anyway. I may return to this meeting and elaborate further another time. I was in a bit of turmoil, as I had so much information to consider and digest between that and my return to Belfast. The other two sisters who had volunteered for Zimbabwe were Sr. Anne Doyle RIP, of Wexford, who had spent a long time in Florida and Sr. Margaret Slattery of Kerry who had been in Kenya on mission previously. I was the only one who had not been away. They were accompanied by their respective Mother Generals, but poor Rosemary, alas, was all alone! After that session I returned to Donegal to continue the holidays. Then it was back to Belfast and lots of talks and meetings, especially in the Mercy Ireland headquarters in Donnybrook, to help us to formulate our mission statement or vision statement or whatever it was called. That was a difficult task, because there was such diversity in how each of us saw Mercy in the world of the late nineteen-eighties. We each had such a variety of life experiences, and therefore it was hard to find common ground in our philosophy of what Mercy should be for our mission in Zimbabwe. I detested those meetings. I have a dreadful aversion to meetings of any kind ever since. I found those days so taxing and threatening, that I did not want to be there. Since then, I have no desire to travel to Dublin and do not care if I never see it again. The memories of those meetings, and worse, the counselling meetings I was sent to in the Augustinian place in the Liberties after my father's death, are best forgotten, because of the pain of them.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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