Madigan Muses: Reflections
by Marilyn Madigan

 Every December, we celebrate the best holiday of the year; Christmas. What a gift we have been given by having Christ in our lives. We also have been blessed by the people who are on the journey of our lives. I have truly been blessed this past year.

I will always look back on 2019 with fond memories. I was blessed to be able to visit Ireland twice. It is always special to visit but these two trips were very special.

My first trip was with the Ancient Order of Hibernian Freedom for All Ireland (FFAI) trip. This trip was very educational and rewarding to see first-hand the benefits of the contributions of FFAI to the people of the North of Ireland. Traveling with my Brother and Sister Hibernians really demonstrates the bonds of our motto Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity.

My second trip was for my Gantley Family Reunion. It was wonderful meeting family members from Australia, Canada, England, Ireland and the United States. Unfortunately, the reunion trip started off attending the funeral of the man who brought our worldwide family together; Joe Gantley.

Joe brought us all together with Past Reunion gatherings and strengthened the relationships with a family Facebook page. Thank you Joe. He passed on the torch to Lorna Gantley, and I look forward to future gatherings. Our family is truly blessed.

This year has been one of other special occasions. I had the honor and privilege of marching in the New York St. Patrick’s Day as the National Secretary with Sister Hibernians from all over the United States as we celebrated the 125thAnniversary of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. At the AOH/LAOH Ohio State Convention, I was honored to speak of the contributions of LAOH members from Ohio.

Three women from Ohio have served as National President: Adele Christy from Cleveland 1921-1925, Kathie Linton from Akron 1994-1996 and Carol Sheyer from Hamilton 2018-2020. The highlight of the 125th Anniversary Celebrations was the weekend events held in Dearborn, Michigan.

Sister Hibernians from coast to coast traveled to participate in this historic occasion. Our early leaders were featured in a program. I had the privilege of telling Ellen Ryan Jolly’s story. The highlight of the event was the Mass and the Dinner, where I was honored to be the speaker. The history of the LAOH is very important to me. We have a long and proud history that needs to be shared.

I was very humbled to receive two awards this year. In April, I was inducted into Cleveland’s International Hall of Fame, and in October received the Irish American Peace Prize from the Irish National Caucus.

Although it is my name on these awards, the awards are not mine alone; they are shared by all my family and friends who support me.

As this year comes to a conclusion, thank you to all who have shared these experiences with me. I am grateful for the presence of Christ in my life and the individuals who God has given me the privilege to travel with on my life journey.

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