Over the years and for as long as I can remember the people of Ireland went all over the world in an effort to improve the living standards of the most oppressed and poor people in which ever countries they went to
In the past 100 years and more they have brought religion faith and hope to people weather that be in England, Africa ,The Philippines, Japan, South America, India and Europe, but no matter where they went they brought health care , education, self esteem self help, water production,animal welfare and hope for a better future, This was carried out much to the distaste of the elites of these countries who for their own reasons did not want to see change.
In the early days this work was carried out by the various Irish religious orders who educated , each brother priest or nun in a skill which they brought with them to these far off lands, but the most of them were farmers sons and daughters, teachers, nurses, and doctors who would have also given their lives to their god and were dedicated to working for the poor and improving their lives, even tho the numbers of the religious orders have dropped this work goes on as they now manage the schools and hospitals as the people they trained and educated are now taking over and running the day to day activities, and indeed many of these people are now working in our own health system and schools in Ireland so all that good work carried out by the early Irish missioners in these countries is now showing a benefit to the Irish nation. I don’t really belive in Karma but I do belive that good will always overcome evil and we will be rewarded as we are here in Ireland with the arrival into our mist the most beautiful and caring of people as I personally know from my own experience having met nurses from India and Africa all trained by the same Irish nuns and brothers who went to their homelands to help them and their families for a better future.
There is now a real threat to this work being able to continue as it did in the early days . but I do see hope that it will emerge from this down turn as I see the number of Irish lay people now doing this work, as I think of Gina Heraty from Westport Ireland doing amazing work in Haiti among the poor and victims of the recent storms and earthquake or Mrs Nobel in Vietnam where she runs an orphanage for street kids and there are many many more like her around the world all of them are Irish who are working quietly in different parts of the world bringing hope for a better life as they do the work that the capitalist system will not do
This was brought home to me early this year as my son Diarmuid sent me photos from Hanoi in Vietnam as he made up battery boxes to supply electricity for a village which two of his Irish friends who like himself are teachers, have adopted, because the people in this village can’t afford to send their children to school they teach them at the weekends in the hope that will get some kind of a start in life, once again we witness the kindness, caring and selflessness of the Irish abroad.
We are still missionaries at heart !!!