The third and final installment of our 'Sisters of Roscrea' series concludes this week, with this contribution by Sr Mona Maher.
“Since the early 1970s, when Eileen and myself, Mona came to Uganda, Roscrea people have been very supportive of us and our missionary work by prayer, by interest, by communication and financially.
“Perhaps it has been a long family history that has brought this about. Our parents Kathleen and Toby Maher were involved in the social and farming life in Roscrea. Our brother Tim and Kathleen have been part of Comhaltas, Roscrea and nephew Tadhg as teacher and musician has been engaged in Roscrea life. I know that it is through these and other contacts that Coloma Primary School and its children have become well known, loved and supported. For this we are truly grateful and please know that it has transformed children’s lives and their families
“As I said last week the people of Roscrea furnished our first classroom and bought books and uniform for the children and beds for the dormitory. Father Lorcan Kenny is our big friend and together with the students of Colaiste Phobal through their coin collection, fast days and other innovative ways have been responsible for many a girl completing her primary school education. To our great joy Father Lorcan has spent some Easters with us and has given us lovely creative prayerful liturgies. We are ever grateful to Father Lorcan for that. We have had other visitors over the years – Seamus Dennison who worked very hard in the hot African sunshine, to the amazement of the people. Michael Thompson, Tadhg, Louise Hickey, have added life and created lasting friendships among us. Recently Ann and Noel Murray from Cloghan and Birr visited us and Reverend Janet White Spunner has also been with us. Visitors bring their life and newness to us but Michael Thompson deserves a special mention. His football skills were highly appreciated and Arsenal has become the Coloma football team togged out in jerseys and all. Well done Michael – we might get into the World Cup next time!
“In the minds of the children the most important country after Uganda is Ireland and for many it is called Roscrea! Apart from sponsoring individual children we have been assisted in establishing rain water harvesting and installing solar lighting systems on the buildings. We have got playground equipment for the children, planted over 3,000 trees, bought two bicycles, clothing, footwear, uniform for the children and the list goes on. Comhaltas, senior and Junior have committed to support Theresa and Elizabeth for 7 years. Many others have made similar commitments and we are appreciative of all.
No doubt the people of Roscrea, Birr and the surrounding areas are true stake holders of Coloma Primary School and may the friendships that have begun remain and continue to grow over the years. We bless you all.”
Appeal: Knowing how good the people are I have not stressed our need. Comhaltas is already sponsoring Elizabeth who has three more years in school and Theresa, who has four. Each of these need €300 annually. We presently have another big need. Water is a huge problem in the school and getting bigger as the climate gets drier. We have a dormitory building and want to harvest the rain water from it. It needs two big water tanks, bases to place them on, roof gutters and water fitting etc from the roof to the tanks. Each cost €10,000. The tank costs €1,000 so for two it will be €2,000. For the base and fittings we think that another €1,200 will cover it. The total job should be cost €3,200.