72 Years of “Our Life is Mission”

Srs. Noreen Kearns and Rosemarie Donovan

On Monday, May 31st, OLMs attended Mass together at Presentation Manor Chapel to celebrate our 72’nd anniversary. In his homily Fr. John Carten, SFM spoke about Mary’s visitation to her cousin Elizabeth to be of service as her mission to fulfill God’s will.

One of the two pioneer members of Our Lady’s Missionaries; Sr. Rosemarie Donovan, recalled her experience when she first arrived in Immaculata House to enter, and the other, Sr. Noreen Kearns shared her story of how a simple act of giving pennies inspired her to join OLM.

In the words of Sr. Rosemarie Donovan…

On May 31’st, 72 years ago Our Lady’s Missionaries was founded. A 40 year dream of our Founder, Fr. Dan Mac Donald was realized on that day. He was 82 and stood so proudly on the station platform as we emerged from the train. Noreen and I and our Mothers. There were tears in his eyes as he put us in a taxi to take us to our new home – “Immaculata House”.

On our arrival there were two St. Joseph’s Sisters; St. Charles and Sr. Natalie to Welcome us and usher us in the front door. Fr. Dan was soon vesting for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in our small chapel. We could not enter as the varnish had not dried but we sat on the stairs and participated thru the door of the chapel.

Fr. Dan spoke eloquently thanking God for the many flavours granted him leading to this very day. We were all in tears as we were shown into the kitchen for tea and scones. Mother and Mrs. Kearns were sitting on chairs, Noreen and I sat on orange crates.

The sisters were warm and friendly and made us feel at home. Our mothers were to stay overnight at friends and the car soon came for them. Tears again and off they went until the next morning where we made our final goodbyes as they left for home. Our Lady of the Visitation seemed very close.

In the words of Sr. Noreen Kearns…

On March 25, 1949, Our Lady’s Missionaries was founded in Alexandria, Ontario.

I entered the community on May 31 that same year. I recall my memories of those seventy-two years during our celebration here in Presentation Manor, Toronto, Ontario.

When I was in Grade 3 at St. Brigid’s School, Toronto, our teacher, Miss Hayes’ gave each of us a small box distributed at that time by Scarboro Foreign Missions depicting a group of children in a far-away country asking for pennies to buy food. Young as I was, I remember saying, “When I grow up, I will bring them my food!”

After my teen age years and when I thought seriously regarding my future, I recalled my promise and I applied to Our Lady’s Missionaries. As a pure gift, I was privileged to work in “far-off” Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and Brazil. My work was never equal to the many blessings and relationships I received from the people who received me and gave me their love and culture.

Our Lady’s Missionaries remember Fr. Dan’s words in a letter he wrote when the first sisters were preparing to go overseas for their mission:

There is an event to occur drawing nearer and daily increasing in size, when parting will come with no hope of re-union. Such at least is the probability. I think every day of it and know that your joy will be my pain. That is the human experience. Not to feel it would be inhuman.”

Going forth to the unknown, uncertainties, and risk has been for OLMs a blessing as we live “Our Life is Mission.”

One thought on “72 Years of “Our Life is Mission””

  1. Such beautiful stories. In my business communication class this week I gave a lecture on “show, don’t tell” to effectively connect with audiences. Your message, and indeed your lives of service, have been examples of “show, don’t tell”, making the world a better place.


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