News Release

Leaders of the Women’s Organisations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Visit the Island of Ireland

Leaders join with local members for the Relief Society Day of Service

The weather was with Sister Craig of the Young Women General Presidency, Sister Aburto of the Relief Society General Presidency and Sister De Marco, International Area Organisation Adviser in the Europe Area, as they touched down in a sunny Dublin on Saturday the 19th of March for a whirlwind tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The trip was part of their wider tour of the Western Europe, taking in Spain parts of England, and the Island of Ireland.

The first stop was the Dublin Stake Centre where the sisters were met by President Veronica Holton, Stake Relief Society President of the Dublin Ireland Stake. They entered the meetinghouse greeted by a hive of activity.  Stations were set up around the cultural hall and in rooms around the building where women and girls were sorting, packing, packaging, sewing, and knitting. Local members of the Relief Society and Young Women organisations, both from the Dublin Stake and Limerick District, had championed causes for the day that were special to them.

Relief Society Area Day of Service© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Sister Aburto, Sister Craig, and Sister De Marco spent most of their time visiting with each of the groups, learning about the causes, and lending a hand. Donated items had been gathered to sort into packs for different groups including the Dogs Trust, the local soup kitchen, local women’s shelters, and many others. Women were knitting and crocheting new-born clothing for the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin and creating mitts for residents of Oakwood Lodge Nursing Home suffering from dementia with tactile objects attached to help the residents calm anxiety.

As the activity drew to a close, the leaders were driven from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland across the border to Belfast in Northern Ireland. They made a brief stop at Loughbrickland in County Down. There the sisters, with their husbands and area leader Elder Hirst, met the Belfast Stake Presidency at the site of the first baptism in Northern Ireland, performed by John Taylor in the 1840s. Together they travelled to the Belfast Stake Centre where over 150 sisters and young women from the Belfast Stake were gathered for their Day of Service activity.

Loughbrickland, Site of first baptism in Ireland© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In support of local causes, coordinated by President Janet Mullan, the Stake Relief Society President, clothing was being sorted along with sanitary items and toiletries. Sewing machines were in use and women were knitting in knitting circles to produce additional items for donation. These items were sorted with care and efficiency into piles of clear bags with labels to assist groups such as The Homeless Period for homeless women, the Children’s Cancer Unit of The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, and Support Ukraine which supports displaced Ukrainian orphans in Poland.

Sister Aburto was mingling with the sisters when she met Edna, a visitor from Support Ukraine. Edna had been invited to collect donations after local sisters, who had been assisting with Support Ukraine, decided the Day of Service was a wonderful opportunity to donate much needed clothing and supplies to those fleeing from the conflict in Ukraine. Edna had no idea what to expect and was blown away by the scene that greeted her. She was touched by the kindness and generosity as local sisters came and introduced themselves and committed to coming to their warehouse to help in the future. After the event Edna expressed her gratitude for the generosity of the sisters and said, “We were very grateful and humbled to see people working together like a well-oiled machine.” She continued, “Thank you again on behalf of the people for passing the torch of hope, humanity, and kindness to them.”

Sister Craig visiting with young women© 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The following day Sister Aburto was back at the Stake Centre for a special meeting with the Relief Society sisters from the Holywood Road ward while Sister Craig travelled to Lisburn Ward to host a special meeting with the Young Women’s group of the ward. Sister De Marco shared a special combined meeting with Bangor 1st and 2nd Ward’s Young Women sisters and Relief Society sisters. They shared their love for the sisters and their admiration for the saints of the Island of Ireland. Many hugs and sweet stories were shared before the sisters made their way to the airport to travel to Birmingham to conclude the visit.

Hugs with Sister Aburto © 2022 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

After the sisters had departed, the Belfast Stake Relief Society Presidency members shared, “We are very grateful that we were blessed by the visit of Sister Aburto, Sister Craig, and Sister De Marco. Each of them took time to speak to our members, had photos taken with them, and gave our Stake such a boost by coming. We are grateful to know that we are loved by them and felt that love over the weekend.”

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