125th Anniversary Service of Mothers' Union in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin


Mrs Myrtle Allen Branch Leader of Galloon Drummully Branches MU Enterprises Representative

On Sunday 23 September 60 members from Clogher and 16 members from Kilmore diocese sharing two coaches set off at 10.00am from Enniskillen to Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin to join members from all over Ireland for a special service of choral evensong at 3.30pm to mark the 125th anniversary of Mothers' Union in Ireland.

Before arriving in Dublin everyone enjoyed lunch at the County Club, Dunshaughlin and even though half an hour early the staff was ready to serve the lunch. The friendliness and service was excellent so much that it was decided to return to the same establishment for refreshments following the service and also because of increased traffic due to the GAA match.

Even though there was a delay because of traffic build-up we arrived on schedule.

The procession before and after the service included the banners from the dioceses. Myrtle Allen, Newtownbutler and Enterprise representative very ably carried the Clogher Banner.

The Dean of Christ Church, the Very Reverend Dermot Dunne welcomed everyone stating that it was great to see so many people and pointed out that the Mothers' Union had a special place in the cathedral as the All Ireland Mothers' Union Chapel was located in Christ Church.

The first lesson from Ecclesiastes 3 v 1 - 8 was read by the All Ireland President Ruth Mercer with the second lesson John 12 v 20 - 26 read by Dean Raymond Ferguson, Mothers' Union Chaplain in Ireland.

Muriel Treacy, Clogher Faith and Policy Co-ordinator took part in the prayers, which were led by Rev Cathy Trimby, All-Ireland Faith and Policy co-ordinator.

The Bishop of Kilmore Elphin and Ardagh, the Right Reverend Kenneth Clarke, and who is also Worldwide Chaplain to Mothers' Union, preached the sermon. He told the congregation that Mothers' Union was about Christian compassion, love and courage and that Mother's Union was having an impact right around the globe. Bishop Clarke said that people viewed Mothers' Union with the perception that it was for people in the latter stages of life. Others saw it as a tea-making service and others viewed it in the past tense. He reminded everyone that there were over four million members of Mothers' Union throughout the world - 49 per cent in India and 48 per cent in Africa and that just two per cent came from Britain and Ireland. He said, "Mothers' Union is actually making an impact in many countries and is a vital lifeline in many churches."

Bishop Clarke referred to the history of the organisation's founding by Mary Sumner, a vicar's wife who sought to have Christ at the centre of Mothers' Union. "Mothers' Union is Christian in its roots and Christian in its shoots or branches," he said. He said that Mothers' Union was also about compassion for people expressed in serving people and helping them and this love and compassion could be seen in branches throughout Ireland. But he added that there was also a "Holy hate" - a hatred of injustice, greed, the over commercialisation and sexualisation of children and a hatred of seeing children missing out on childhood.

Finally, the Bishop said Mothers' Union was about courage. Referring to the Gospel reading he stated: "There is a time to be born and a time to die" and also said that there was a time when some things must die. "Our 125th anniversary is a good time to ask if there are some things that need to die in Mothers' Union because they are no longer fruitful to discard things which may hinder us in doing what Mothers' Union is all about," he said. "The 125th anniversary is the time to have courage to face these things." However, he added that there is also a time to be born and that as some things die, other things are born anew. He concluded his sermon with the saying of Mary Sumner's personal prayer.

The service concluded with the dedication of the new lights in the Mothers' Union chapel by the Archbishop of Dublin the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson.

At the end of the homeward journey, the Diocesan President, Geraldine Beattie thanked everyone for attending the service and that all enjoyed the friendship and fellowship of the day. She also thanked the Diocesan Secretary, Diane Whittaker for organising the travel arrangements.


The Diocesan Banner, which Myrtle carried, was designed and made by Brown's of Manchester in 1963. The Banner is kept in St Macartin's Cathedral, Enniskillen.

The Banner shows the MU Logo with a border of white lilies and four crosses in pink in the corners.

The words "FOR LOVE OF GOD AND HOME" are embroidered on the front of the Banner. The crest of the Diocese is embroidered on the back.

In 1996 the Banner survived a fire in the Cathedral which gutted a large area at the back of the Church. The banner was smoke damaged but was expertly restored.