Author: Rogalsky, Dave
Date published: June 27, 2011
Marg Nally, chair of Mennonite Central Committee Ontario and chaplain at Mary's Place, the Kitchener YWCA's women's shelter, shared her life story at the Mennonite Economic Development Associates breakfast on May 19, wondering how an Irish Catholic became a Mennonite grandmother.
Growing up under the shadow of a convent in Ireland, she learned the daily rhythms of prayer, hearing the bells calling the sisters to pray. The sound of a motorcycle driven by a young red-haired entrepreneur called her to a life in this world.
Nally and her husband Bob eventu ally travelled to Canada, leaving Ireland's troubles behind them. Settling in south -ern Ontario, their desires for peace and justice soon put them into contact with Mennonites.
Drinking from the wells of Vatican II and Latin American liberation theology, Nally appreciated that Mennonites worked with an embedded faith, and so began "a slow and deliberate conversion to Anabaptism," she shared.
In various organizations in and out of the Mennonite Church, Nally has been active in working at a biblical vision of hope. But it was as she preached about this topic one day that she realized her own well had run dry, that she was close to burnout. She re turned to the disciplines of her childhood; looking to fill the well, she was drawn back into contemplative prayer, retreats and spiritual direction.
The two faiths continue in her, she said. Prayer and service lead her to work hard, but also to remember that she has "the servant's portion," and that it is God who is responsible for the parts she cannot do.
She closed with the words Augustine from 354 AD: "Sing with your voice and with your heart and with all your moral conviction, not only with your tongue, but with all your life."
STORY AND PHOTO BY DAVE ROGALSKY
Eastern Canada Correspondent
St. Jacob's, Ont.