|Irish Person Of The Year|
Saturday, March 18th, 2006 marked a significant night of celebration for The Franciscan Sisters in Uganda's capital city, Kampala. Ireland's National feast was the occasion to name the person specially selected for a prestigious award! Sworn to secrecy, the community was only too well aware that an F.M.S.A. had been selected. Totally oblivious, Sr. Cosmas simply arrived to enjoy an evening of great fun and marvelous company with a large crowd of her countrymen and women. Many Ugandans came to join in the festivities at the St Patrick's Ball held in the Sheraton Hotel. In such wonderful and beautiful surroundings, attractive and appetizing food was served while a large crowd danced the night away to the strains of an Irish band specially drafted in for the evening!!
The highlight of the evening came as the nominated Irish Person of the Year was publicly announced. A surprised and stunned Sr. Cosmas was a sight to behold!!
The Irish Ambassador, Ms. Aine Heams, gave a warm and very witty appreciation of Sr. Cosmas'
ministry among the destitute young people in Youth Sharing Centre, Nsambya, Kampala. Sister's work with children in a nursery school in one of Kampala's slum areas was also highlighted. The overwhelming contribution made by Sister towards the field of education, especially for girls, since her arrival in 1949, was hugely acknowledged, special mention being given to Namagunga.
In her impromptu "thank-you" speech, Sr. Cosmas remarked that she had done nothing to merit such a greatly appreciated honour. She considered it a privilege to work happily with Ugandan children and friends from whom she had received far more than she had given.
The award carried with it a presentation of "holy water," (Irish Whiskey!!) and the promise of a cheque for one of Sisters' projects. Mairin, living in Scotland, and Sr. Cosmas' sister, had arranged for a beautiful bouquet of flowers to be given on this occasion. This was presented by Sr. Kathleen Moran. In addition, the Sisters in Uganda gave an attractive local carving.
We as members of the Congregation warmly congratulate Sr. Cosmas on this award. We felt glad that our work among the poor and marginalized in Uganda was being recognized and acknowledged. To all who organized and planned this wonderful evening of celebration hosted by the Irish Society of Uganda, we say, "Thank you!"