Earlier this month, our dear colleague Maura O’Donohue, MMM, passed away after a lifetime’s work with those most in need. Her life’s work centred on the message of the Gospels, ‘rooted and founded on love.’ We especially valued the contributions which Maura made to RENATE during her latter years. Sr. Isabelle Smyth, her dear friend and sister in the congregation, a member of RENATE, shares with us her tribute to Maura.
In 2003, when she reached what would be the age of retirement for many people, she asked the Medical Missionaries of Mary to assign her to the work of raising awareness about the problem of human trafficking. She had come face to face with the situation in the course of her work in places like Thailand, the Philippines and several countries of Africa.
She was one of the founding members of APT in 2005, and represented APT on the Round Table of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit at the Irish Government’s Department of Justice. She was an early member of COATNET, the Europe-wide ecumenical network against trafficking in persons. She travelled extensively meeting survivors and sharing insights with those who worked to prevent trafficking on several continents.
She addressed international meetings on the issue, attended sessions of the UN at Geneva, spoke to religious leaders and persuaded influential media people to write on the topic – in fact she never lost an opportunity to make people aware of this evil in our world today.
Those who worked in team with her over the years speak of her as an amazing colleague, a quiet person who was full of warmth and passion. With clear vision she pursued each objective against all odds. She is lovingly remembered as an inspiration, mentor and guide, a listener, a bringer of healing, help and hope. To her family, friends and colleagues she was a very special person and is greatly missed.
Her final illness, leukaemia, witnessed her deep awareness of God’s call to the fullness of life that awaits us all.
Isabelle Smyth, MMM