Cashel, Ferns, Ossory Mothers' Union

Cashel, Ferns, Ossory Mothers' Union
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Welcome to the Cashel, Ferns, Ossory Mothers' Union website. The website will carry news, articles and photographs of Mothers' Union events throughout the United Diocese and also All-Ireland news.

The website will be regularly updated and if any Branch wishes to have an event, article or photograph published on the website please forward it to our Diocesan Secretary, Margaret Jacob. Email:

Please ensure that you have permission from any person who is going to be named in a photograph before sending it in to appear on the website.

All photographs and articles will remain copyright of the website and may not be copied. (See the Data Protection statement at the bottom of the Home Page)

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Cashel, Ferns, Ossory

For further information please contact:

Diocesan Secretary: Cecily Jones

News Updates

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If you would like to advertise an event on the Spinner please contact The Diocesan Secretary, Cecily Jones.
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Latest News

Dates for your Diary

  • 23rd June ~ International Widow's Day ~ Service & Supper
  • 9th August ~ Mary Sumner Day ~ Diocesan "Big Hymn Service" for Mums in May
  • 26th October ~ Autumn Council ~ Dolmen Hotel Carlow @ 10.30 a.m.
  • 7th November @ 11.30 a.m. ~ Holy Communion Service in St. Mary's Church Carlow, ~ R93 YW77 ~ St. Mary's, Church, Carlow, Co. Carlow

Lesley Bayley
The Diocesan President of
Cashel, Ferns, Ossory Mothers' Union

Theme for 2024 ~ Transformation - Now!

A Letter from the Diocesan President ~ Lesley Bayley

Dear all,

Life in Mothers’ Union is never dull and there is always something new to get involved in and this month that comes in the guise of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ (TKC) which runs from Ascension (9th) to Pentecost (19th) and for the 8th year invites Christians around the world to pray together. Archbishop Justin Welbey says, ‘In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we are committing to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.’

The 11 days are an annual invitation and encouragement to Christians and churches to seek the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that we might love out and share the Kingdom of God. At the heart of TKC is the focus to ‘Pray for Five’ which acts as an invitation to bring 5 people to God in prayer.

Mothers’ Union are asking members to ‘Pray for Five and Invite One.’ As well as an encouragement to pray for 5 people we are asked to invite one person to come along to a meeting or event, and to see what we are all about.
The TKC Prayer Journals have been distributed at our recent Spring Council meeting and all members are encouraged to get involved. With this in mind, (and as unfortunately we have had to cancel the weekend retreat) we will hold an event on Saturday the 18th in the Community House, Carlow, between 10am and 4pm. All are welcome to attend. (See the members May Newsletter for further details).

Our Festival Service took place on April the 8th, the Feast of the Annunciation, and I would like to thank Bishop Adrian for leading our worship, Canon Máirt Hanley for his unforgettable sermon about the symbolism of the Easter Bunny, and to our chaplain Revd. Ger, Cecily Jones and Mabel Besanson for all taking part, to Naomi Besanson, our organist on the night, and to the ladies from Kiltegan for their wonderful hospitality. Thank you also to Archdeacon Alec and Canon Patrick for their support.

As Mothers’ Union continues to encourage branches and churches to RISE UP against domestic abuse, this month’s article is written by me – in my role as Social Policy Representative for Southern Ireland.
‘Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.’ (1 John 3:18)
I have been watching a programme on the Prime streaming app recently, called ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’, which is about a flower farm in Australia where abused women can come to live, to earn a wage, to heal and to regain their strength. It is a safe place, miles from anywhere, and a refuge in the true sense of the word.

This got me thinking about women’s refuges, and the service they provide to so many, who would otherwise have nowhere else to go.
Safe Ireland says that 1 in 3 Irish women have experienced psychological violence from a partner at some point in their lives, and 1 in 4 have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner or non-partner since the age of 15. Yet there are only 20 refuges in the Republic which provide accommodation to those fleeing abuse, with Carlow, Cavan, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, and Sligo not currently having a domestic violence refuge.
The ‘Zero Tolerance’ third national strategy on domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (DSGBV) has committed to doubling the number of refuge places to 280 by 2026. However, this would still fall short of the number of spaces required under the Istanbul Convention, which Ireland ratified in 2019.

Women’s refuges offer short-term accommodation for women and their children in emergency situations, who need a place of safety to stay. They are usually small bedsits/apartments with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette, along with shared communal spaces. Unfortunately, due to the on-going housing crisis women are staying longer in refuges than they previously would have done, and for many, when they leave they now find themselves in long-term homeless emergency accommodation. And in some cases women are returning to unsafe homes rather than registering as homeless, because they feel they have no other choice.
Despite the shortage of available space, a refuge will always offer help and will never turn anyone away, but the offer of accommodation may be in another county or even another province, as refuges across the country work together to help victims of domestic abuse. They also offer outreach services to support women and children, including advice, safety planning, court accompaniment and counselling.
As part of the RISE UP Challenge we are encouraged to continue to support our local refuges in any way we can. Many of us collect toiletries and clothing at various times of the year, but perhaps branches or churches could group together to offer the bigger cost items, such as: bedding, washing powder, cook ware, etc., as these are items many refuges struggle to continually finance.

Please continue to help in any way you can and to get involved with the RISE UP challenge, either through your branch taking part in the Silver Award or perhaps your parish would like to take the Church Pledge.
With every blessing,
Lesley xx
Dates for your diary:
General Synod Armagh – Friday 10th + Saturday 11th May
‘Thy Kingdom Come’ event Community House, Carlow – Saturday 18th May
International Widows Day – Sunday 23rd June
Mary Sumner Day – Friday 9th August: Diocesan ‘BIG HYMN SING’ Concert in Christ Church, Gorey

Click on the image below to download the
May 2024 Newsletter

Click on the image above to bring you to
the All-Ireland website to read all about
The Triennial All-Ireland Mothers'
Union Conference 2023

Click on the image above to view a video of the work
of Mothers' Union in Ireland created for
The Annual Gathering in Belfast 2022

Click on the image above to download a poster re
grants available from CFO Mothers' Union
Mothers' Union Video

Click on the Mothers' Union emblem below to see the video highlighting the work of Mothers' Union which was filmed at the Triennial Conference in Termonfeckin in March 2017

The video features members of Mothers' Union from around Ireland telling all about the organisation and the many different projects supported by Mothers' Union both here at home and in Third World Countries.

One of the clips features our very own Joan Blake who can be seen knitting a matinee jacket and talking about the Mothers' Union Knitting Project

Below also is a link to the main Mothers' Union
Facebook Page

The All-Ireland Facebook Pages

Click on the image above to to bring you
to a page on the All Ireland Website
with a Report on the Getaway Weekend 2023

Click on the image below to bring you to the
All-Ireland You Tube Channel

The latest edition of Spin is now available
to download.
Click on the image below

Q Code to Donate to Mothers' Union
Changing the Story Initiative

Cards & Gifts

Available from
*  MU Enterprise *

Naomi Besanson currently has
cards available to purchase plus cards to suit many other occasions.
Please contact

Dates for your Diary


  • Friday 10th + Saturday 11th May ~ General Synod in Armagh

  • Saturday 18th May ~ Thy Kingdom Come’ event Community House

  • 23rd June ~ International Widow's Day ~ Service & Supper

  • 9th August ~ Mary Sumner Day ~ Diocesan "Big Hymn Service" for Mums in May ~ Christ Church, Gorey

  • 26th October ~ Autumn Council ~ Dolmen Hotel Carlow @ 10.30 a.m.

  • 7th November @ 11.30 a.m. ~ Holy Communion Service in St. Mary's Church Carlow, ~ R93 YW77 ~ St. Mary's, Church, Carlow, Co. Carlow

The Mothers' Union Harvest Service Portlaoise took place in Saint Peter's Church, Grattan Street, Portlaoise, Co. Laois on Sunday 5th November.

Click on the image above to view a video of the service

Click on the image above to download the
Booking Form

Mothers’ Union Holy Communion Service
May 2024

2nd May 2024 ~ All Ireland

Service in Christ Church Cathedral @ 11.15 a.m
Christchurch Place, Wood Quay, Dublin D08 TF98

This service will be live streamed from the Cathedral

June's Walk in Kilkenny
June Butler's first walk in the Diocese took place in Kilkenny on Thursday 8th June. We are very grateful to Florrie Carter and her team in Kilkenny Mothers' Union for all of the time and effort they put in to ensure that everything ran smoothly. Those participating enjoyed a lovely walk over the new bridge, by the river and on to the Castle Grounds before returning to the cathedral. Pat Nolan accompanied us on the walk giving an interesting account of all of the historical areas we passed. Sam Harper met up with us en route and provided same lovely ice-cream for refreshments. Some of the walkers had other commitments and were unable to continue on the walk but eight completed it. We were delighted that Bishop Michael Burrows was able to join us for the walk too.
Our thanks to the ladies from Kilkenny MU for all of the hospitality they provided both before and after the walk.

June thanked everyone for their support and welcome to Kilkenny. Florrie Carter, Branch leader, presented June with a small token to mark her visit to Kilkenny.
June's Second Walk ~ Tintern Abbey
June Butler's second walk in CFO took place on Monday 12th July at Tintern Abbey near Saltmills in Co. Wexford. The weather forecast for the morning was miserable but thankfully it turned out to be fine and a lovely day for walking. It was wonderful to meet up with so many members before eight set off to complete one of the longer walks through the woods.

June was delighted to meet up with Bea Thorpe in the walled gardens and have a chat with her. Three ladies set off with June to complete a further two kilometers so as to achieve her 7km target on each walk. When we arrived back in the car park we met up with Anne Barrett, a former All-Ireland President, and our own Phyllis Grothier, who was the previous All-Ireland President, was also present.

Our thanks to Olive Thorpe for her work in arranging the walk and to everyone who attended Tintern Abbey on the day.
Walk No. 3 in Cashel, Ferns, Ossory

June's third walk in Cashel, Ferns, Ossory, the final walk of her series for Mums in May 2021, took place on Tuesday 26th October. The venue for the walk was the Railway Walk in Tinahely. We were delighted that many from the Diocese were able to attend as well as Sylvia Wheatley (Diocesan President of Meath & Kildare) with some of her family and also the All-Ireland Treasurer, Revd. Ken Rue. June began by thanking everyone for coming to join her on the walk and Revd. Rue led us in prayer. Lesley Bayley, Diocesan President of CFO, also welcomed June to Tinahely for her final walk before a group headed off on the walk led by local MU member, Hazel Stedman.

Four walkers completed just over 7kms with June through a lovely tranquil area of woodland and admiring the lovely autumnal colours of the trees. They met up with those who had completed a shorter walk on their return to the car park. A group then adjourned to the D'Lish Cafe in Tinahely for lunch.
A large number of members from Cashel, Ferns and Ossory  and friends enjoyed a lovely afternoon in Rathwood on Friday 3rd June.  They enjoyed a delicious "Afternoon Tea" and it was a wonderful occasion  for everyone to meet up for a chat too. The afternoon was organised by  our Diocesan President, Lesley Bayley, not only to celebrate the  Platinum Jublilee of our Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2, but also  to raise much needed funds for our Diocesan Projects. Thank you Lesley for all of the thought and effort you put in to all of the activities for Mothers' Union in the Diocese.

The  Diocese has also been busy providing much needed support to a Ukranian  family who are being rehoused in Enniscorthy. Members have also been  knitting and sewing fiddle sleeves and blankets at the request of a  nursing home in Kilkenny. These are used with patients who are suffering  from dementia and a request came to Mothers' Union to see if we could  provide a supply for patients in the nursing home.
Getting to know our Founder In Ireland
Annabella Hayes
1847 – 1921
Mothers’ Union was founded in Raheny, Dublin in 1887 by Mrs Annabella Hayes.  As we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of her death, let’s learn a little more about our founder.  

Canon and Mrs Hayes liked to travel and visited Norway, Switzerland and Canada. After their daughter Marie's untimely death in Delhi in 1908 aged 33, they travelled to Delhi to visit the hospital where Marie had worked for the previous three years and to meet people she had worked with. Later Annabella edited and published letters which Marie had written to home. Marie's final letter, sadly, arrived some weeks after the fateful telegram giving news of her death had been received in Raheny. The Hayes memorial cross in Raheny village was erected some years later.
Annabella was born in Dublin in 1847, the daughter of Thomas Edkins Willson of Upper Mount Street. In December 1866 she married the Reverend Francis Carlile Hayes who was then curate in Sandford Parish Church. She was nineteen years old and he was twenty-eight.
In 1867 he was appointed curate of St. Andrew's Church, Suffolk Street, and their first child, Ernest William Carlile Hayes, was born in February 1868. In 1873, Sir Arthur Edward Guinness (later Lord Ardilaun) appointed him Rector of Raheny Parish and he and Annabella moved to the Glebe House where they were to remain for the next forty-five years.

Their second child, Marie Elizabeth (always known as May) was born in May1874, and in April 1878 her sister Ethel Clara Ridley was born. A boy, Maurice, was born in 1886 but sadly died in infancy. Ernest went to school at St.Columba's and an English governess, Connie Gibbs of Willesden, was appointed to look after the education of the two girls.

In 1887 Annabella Hayes set up the first branch of the Mothers' Union in Raheny, inspired by what Mary Sumner had done in England eleven years before. Little did either of them know that in the twenty-first century world-wide membership of M.U would have grown to over four million.

Francis and Annabella were still in the Raheny Rectory when they celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1916. Canon Hayes retired in 1918 and he and Annabella moved to 12 Northbrook Road which was apparently owned by Francis since his days at St. Andrew's. Annabella survived a bad bout of 'flu shortly after they moved, but was taken ill again about a year later. She was diagnosed with liver cancer and died at home on the 7th February 1921.
Annabella was buried in St. Fintan's Cemetery in Sutton and her headstone (and that of Francis) stands at the highest point of the Cemetery. It is, however, not made of stone but of wood - teak, and despite its having stood there for 100 years there is absolutely no sign of decay in the timber. Mothers’ Union in Ireland had planned to do some restorative work to her gravesite during 2021 but has been put on hold because of Covid 19 restrictions.

Annabella was 74 when she died on 7th  February 1921 and Francis was 94 when he died on 12th December 1931.

Click on the photograph of Annabella to bring you to a dedicated page
on the All-Ireland Website covering the centenary celebrations.

MULOA is a new initiative from Mothers' Union
which aims to look at Mothers' Union going forward.
You will be hearing a lot about it at Branch Level in the coming months.
Click on the MULOA symbol to see a short video about this initiative.

We pray that our God will make us fit for what he’s called us to be,
that he’ll fill our good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy
so that it all amounts to something.

As our lives honour the name of Jesus,
may he honour us, by his grace; our God giving himself freely,
the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely. Amen

Based on 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (The Message)
Charity Number:

Republic of Ireland:
Mothers’ Union in Ireland is recognised as a Charity by the Revenue Commissioners, 5161.

Registered Charity Number - 20007331 (Charities Regulatory Authority).

Mothers' Union Theme 2022

Transformation - Now!

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