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, Margaret Jacob.
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Latest News

16 Days of Activism – 16 Days 365
The Tuesday service on Zoom at 8pm on the 22nd of November will focus on the 16 Days of Activism Against GBV.
We will also have a central service on the evening of Saturday the 26th of November to mark the Global Day of Action (all are invited to attend) – All Saint’s, Carnew at 7pm.

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

Theme for 2023 ~ Transformation - Now!

A Letter from the Diocesan President ~ Lesley Bayley

Dear fellow members,
As you know in early July 2022, Valerie Power (Unit Co-ordinator for Action and Outreach) and myself went to the Re-imaging Mothers’ Union Conference in Hope University, Liverpool. And following on from that we held our own mini-conference in Kilkenny in late August.
Liverpool was an intense weekend of hard work, during which we each took part in six different specified modules, as well as numerous other group sessions, all of which looked at ways in which we can take Mothers’ Union forward, making it ‘fit for purpose’ in an ever-changing world.
At the end of the weekend every delegate was asked to fill-in three cards, each answering the following questions: What could your diocese do to start the journey of transformation; What might the MSH team do to help/support you to make the most difference and support to you?

Our answers were:
·       That we need to stop focusing so much on meetings and speakers, and start to focus more on what we can do to meet the needs of our communities.
·       Introduce some of the suggested banking and paperwork changes at branch level in order to lessen the burden on branches to find officers.
·       Get more involved in advocacy and social policy issues which might encourage younger new members and help us reach out to the marginalised.
·       An open evening for sharing all we have learned, for members and non-members, show the passion there is for Mothers’ Union.
·       Get rid of the all the ‘levels’ of MU, encourage more members at ground level.
·       Broaden and extend from branch meetings to area meetings.

What we asked of MSH house was:
·       Update us on progress made by other dioceses and encourage All Ireland to do this.
·       Information on any new campaigns and/or partnership.
·       Keep going with the great work you are already doing.
·       Forward various power point from workshops.
·       Update the webpage and make it simple to access.
·       Send information to DP’s and keep database updated.
·       More action in local communities.
·       Further action to raise awareness for 16 days.
·       Keep going, keep thinking outside the box, keep involved and sharing.
·       Talk MU.
·       Be mindful of the realities of the future.
I was appointed as the All-Ireland Representative to the Re-imagining Steering Group, and from that I have been appointed to 3 sub-committees. We had our first meeting in November, a second one in December, and we will meet each month throughout 2023 to work on the following 9 priorities identified from the Liverpool feed-back:
·       Support simplifying structures in Dioceses.
·       Continue to support the move to Direct Debit.
·       Provide the guidance to enable a move from branch banking.
·       Support increasing fundraising and partner income.
·       Support improving relationships with all levels of clergy, and other organisations.
·       Improve and/or provide standardised checklists, resources, packs and policies.
·       Review membership categories and criteria.
·       Enable Sharing experiences of engagement and growth.
·       Improve visibility of campaigns and overseas work.
At the end of our day in Kilkenny we asked everyone there to do a similar feed-back task, based on their previous experience of MU and what they heard that day. The following is what we received:
·       Change meeting times and advance toward making them less structured.
·       Meet in venues other than church halls, maybe smaller groups to focus on fundraising for MU projects.
·       Look into creating a food bank within an area or the diocese.
·       Do not want to do prayer walks in public places.
·       Set up on-line/credit card payment service.
·       Do Zoom IT training and more meetings.
·       Do more things to include whole family – several generations.
·       Have craft nights.
·       Appreciate the privilege it is to be a member of a Christian based organisation in this day and age.
·       Get more people involved – you tell us how.
·       More community events or open meetings.
This information was also passed on to MSH as part of the overall Re-imagining of MU, and we also agreed to undertake 3 committed pledges. Valerie and I chose the following:
·       Forge a link with a prison within the diocese.
·       Encourage the restructuring of meetings in order to suit more members.
·       To be involved in more social issues and doing more outreach.
Number 1 on our list has already been achieved and we hope this is a link we can continue to grow over the coming years. And a huge thank you to all the members who supported the Midlands Prison by supplying selection boxes for the children visiting over the Christmas period.
Since re-opening after COVID-19 we have been suggesting that branches look at alternative ways, times and places to meet, and we will continue to make suggestions as to how this might work best for you.
And we are committed to being more involved with social issues in our communities, and have already begun this process by partnering with the Peter McVerry Trust to supply baby bottles, bottle warmers, nappies, clothing, etc. Donations of individual items (new only please) would be appreciated, and perhaps a branch could come together to buy a bigger item like a bottle warmer or Moses basket. And this month we will be launching our new ‘Helping Hand’ fund, which is a cost-of-living grant scheme, further details will be sent to all branches and clergy in the diocese.
Thank you for all you continue to do for Mothers’ Union, and for the wider communities, in which you live.
Take care and every blessing,
Lesley xxx

Click on the image below to download the
January 2023 Newsletter

Click on the image above to view a video of the work
of Mothers' Union in Ireland created for
The Annual Gathering in Belfast
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 below to bring you to the
All-Ireland You Tube Channel

Cards & Gifts

Available from
*  MU Enterprise *

Phyllis Foot currently has
cards available to purchase plus cards to suit many other occasions.
Please contact

Click on the image to bring you to a page dedicated to Mums in May on The All-Ireland website

Prayer Diary 2023

Click on the image above to download the
Prayer Diary for 2023
Celebrating 70 years as MU Members

Congratulations to Ruth Hamilton and Nora Hanbidge on the occasion of their 70 years membership of Kiltegan / Hacketstown Mothers' Union.
Both  have been  very active members over the years and we are very proud they have reached this milestone!

Christ Church Cathedral

Mothers’ Union Holy Communion Service
Thursday 3rd November 2022
The next Mothers' Union service will take place in Christ Church Cathedral on 3rd November ~ Derry & Raphoe/Limerick & Killaloe

It is hoped that the service will be available to view on the Live Stream Channel.

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.
Competition Time & Mums in May 2021

Throughout the last year All-Ireland Mothers' Union has organised many different competitions to challenge members creativity. The results of all of these competitiones may be found on the "Competition" page of the All-Ireland website. Click on the link below to bring you to this web page.

We are delighted that two members from Cashel, Ferns & Ossory received Highly Commended for their mascots in the Mascot Competition~ Dorothy Langley from Cashel Mothers' Union and Joan Blake from Ballycanew, Leskinfere & Monamolin Mothers' Union. You can view pictures of their entries below and pictures of all of the entries on the All-Ireland website.

Congratulations to Phyllis Grothier from Tullow Branch who won first prize for the Prayer she composed and to The Very Revd. Tom Gordon who got Highly Commended for his Hymn. All of the prize winning hymns and prayers are on the All-Ireland website

There is a dedicated page for Mums in May 2021 on the All-Ireland website and it will document all of the various fundraising events as well as June's walk ~ "21 in 21" Click on the link below to bring you to the webpage.

Hymn by The Very Revd. Tom Gordon
Leighlin Branch
God who is Father of infinite goodness,
God who is Mother and called us to birth,
God, who in Christ, broke the chains that had bound us,
Freed us for kindness, for joy and for mirth

God of all tenderness. God of all tenderness
Grace overflowing which reaches to all.
Bread for our hunger, rich wine at your banquet,
Each has a place who responds to your call.
God who is Spirit, expectant before you,
Raise from our brokenness beauty and love.
From the dry bones of our sin and divisions,
Mould us in gentleness born from above. Refrain.

Break through the times when we limit your mercies.
Rise like the sun beaming measureless grace.
Help us with joy to proclaim love’s endeavour -
All now are welcome in Jesus’ embrace. Refrain.

Tune: To the Hymn Great is the Faithfulness
Winning Prayer ~ Phyllis Grothier
Tullow Branch

Loving Lord, I bring my prayer to you  through faith in your love and mercy.

Father forgive and help me to do better: for the times when I  cause hurt either through my words or actions; when I do not recognise you in the face of my neighbour, when I see another human being as different or of less value. Teach me to show love and mercy.

Father forgive and help me to do better: for the times when I see need and do not respond, hear hurtful words and do not call them out, am deaf to the cries of the hungry, hurt and abused. Teach me to show love and mercy.

Father forgive and help me to do better; for the times when I treat your creation as a personal possession  rather than a fragile resource to be nurtured and valued . Teach me to show love and mercy.

Teach me to remember always that, while  faith, hope and love abide, the greatest of these is love. Inspire  me with the confidence to live this truth in my daily life both in word and action, knowing that all I am or can be is based on the strong foundation of God’s saving love.   In Jesus’ name I pray.
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 centenery celebrations.


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)

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.
Mothers' Union Theme 2022

Transformation - Now!

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).

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Cashel, Ferns, Ossory Mothers' Union

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