When a rabbit reaches old age…

Mission Today & Tomorrow was the title of a two-day conference organised by Misean cara, All Hallows College, IMU and the Kimmage Development Studies Centre in June 2013. The Conference was over-subscribed, showing that ‘mission’ is a topic which is still close to the hearts of Irish people.

The aim of the Conference was to reflect on the changing reality of mission and mission development and to look at possible effective was that will continue the work begun and sustained by thousands of Irish missionaries – lay and clerical – for many decades in developing countries all over the world.

In his Opening Address, Fr Agbonkhianmeghe E Orobator SJ, spoke of Bishop P J Kelly SMA, several OLA Sisters who taught his siblings and ran the local hospital, Sisters of Charity and the MMM Sisters. His address was entitled: “When a rabbit reaches old age it survives on the milk of its offspring: a reflection on the life cycle of the Irish missionary miracle” is well worth reading.

In general, at last two presentations were given on different topics – usually one from a lay person and the other from a religious / priest.

Also available is the address of Mr Joe Costello, Minister of State for Trade & Development, in which he pays generous tribute to the work of missionaries and acknowledges their contribution in presenting a positive image of Ireland to countries throughout the world:

Today I would like to recognise the fact that the long tradition and commitment of Irish missionaries has led the way for much of the Irish Government’s approach to development. Ireland is renowned for its professional development cooperation programme. I can assure you it is Irish missionary work that has given this programme its solid foundation.

We can say that the Irish missionaries were the pioneers in development cooperation, predating Ireland’s official aid programme and deeply influencing its values.”

There were 17 presentations during the two days and these are now available to read, courtesy of the organisers. Click on the link below to access the different topics.


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