It is in giving that we receive

Tuesday December 23rd 2014

Feet up in front of the fire, writing my final blog of 2014. First semester, that’s a wrap! There really is no place like home at Christmas time. After a jam-packed 13 weeks in QUB it’s safe to say I am delighted to be back home for a few weeks with the O’Hagan clan.

My first Christmas in Belfast has been fantastic, and one I certainly won’t be forgetting in a hurry! It’s a wonderful time to spend with friends, both old and new. So, we thought we’d do something different to kick off the festive feeling by visiting Belfast’s very own Continental Markets. We then, wait for it, had Elf and Frozen DVD nights. The originality, I know!

The QUB MF Society got down to work this month by customising our very own Christmas baubles. They were certainly one of a kind as I don’t think there’s another Christmas tree in the world with baubles quite as creative as ours. It was glitter galore!

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We also were blessed to hear a beautiful testimony from Kelly Loughran, one of Michaela’s past pupils and treasured MF volunteer, on her faith and memories of Michaela. It was an honour to hear about Michaela on such a personal level, from someone who was lucky enough to have known her. To conclude our meetings for the semester we took some time out to reflect and pray; to pray in particular for the friends and family of Michaela during this very difficult time, as her 4th anniversary approaches.

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Christmas can be the happiest time of year for many, but can also be one of the hardest. Over the holidays I have donated some time to volunteering with a local Santa’s Cottage called “Gina’s Cottage” in aid of the Southern Area Hospice. Christmas is a time of giving, and it is in giving that we receive. Your actions speak louder than words, so it is so rewarding knowing that I can actively help make a small difference in the lives of those who find Christmas a challenging time of year.

Earlier this month the St Mary’s MF Society organised a mass to celebrate the legacy of Michaela and all the wonderful work of the foundation. Fr Niall Coll shared a beautiful homily based on a quote he once heard; “God does not make junk”. His message was so powerful; it is so easy for people to undermine themselves, and doubt their self-worth. Stop putting yourself down; you are valued, you are special and you matter. Live out the words of St Catherine of Sienna “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world afire!” You have been made for a special purpose and are a very significant part of God’s plan. It was so fulfilling hearing this as we all gathered together for the same reason; a love and passion for an organisation who’s ethos radiates this powerful message. It was a beautiful evening organised by the Ranch and a credit to all those involved.

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There was no better closure to semester one than going back to where it all began, back to my favourite place in the world. Yes that’s right, back to Our Lady’s for a reunion at our A-Level prize giving! OLS put out all the stops to ensure it an extra special evening for all, there was even a glass or two of shloer involved! I have missed OLS so much, so I was itching to get back to see everyone. It felt like we had never left with everyone just picking up where they had left off, and the craic as good as ever! It was a lovely evening to celebrate each other’s achievements both academically and extra curricular. I am blessed to have spent seven years with such a talented group of girls, all so uniquely special but with the same roots back in Our Lady’s. The OLS school spirit is one that I will carry in my heart forever, no matter where life takes me. Once an OLS girl, always an OLS girl! 

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Nollaig Shona agus rath Dé oraibh i gconaí,

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