‘The first memories of my mother were also my last. As I was to learn, she and I had travelled from hostel to hostel for the first 3 years of my life. I remember seeing her lying by the doorway in the half-light of evening. Her eyes were open but she seemed asleep. Her medicine, as she called it, was still hanging out of her arm. I tried waking her but there was no response. I had thought her asleep. 

As the night drew on and the room darkened, I took a blanket and placed it over her chest and placed a cushion beneath her head. I lay down beside her. She felt like ice. I snuggled close to her to try to make her warm. When I awoke the next morning, I was very hungry. I made us both cereal, when leaving the bowl beside her I’d hoped she’d wake for breakfast because I thought she must be hungry like I was. 

Another night and another morning came. I talked to her and brushed her hair. I placed her arm around my body. The only fear I felt was when a Garda looked through the door as another sunset came. He broke a window in the door, opened the latch and then saw me. From his look, I knew something was wrong. I lost my childhood the moment I realised I’d lost my mother. 

Garda Seamus hugged me and I cried as he carried me away from my mother. I called out for her hoping she’d wake up to take me back. I never felt anything other than love for her. I miss her dearly. I hope we meet again someday.’


Madeline was 3 years old when Garda Seamus found her mother dead from a drug overdose. As the effects of the trauma gradually manifested itself over the course of her childhood, by 15 years of age Madeline suffered from chronic depression and suicidal ideation.

Living through a succession of foster homes left Madeline with a loss of identity and she struggled to find meaning in her life.

Late one evening, she was on a long walk and happened upon a Church. She went in and poured her sorrow and misery out before our merciful God and so over time and with prayer she came to find healing – knowing that her mother was in a better place.

Madeline now helps others who suffer from grief and addiction and is happily married with a daughter of her own. Like so many anonymous Christians around the world Madeline has found Hope and Joy in her life and is being God’s Mercy to other poor souls in need.

There are in fact quite literally millions of Madelines around the world who are mercifully giving Hope and Joy to others and many millions more who are in need of such lasting Hope and Joy which can only be found in Christ Jesus.

It is ACN’s great privilege to be able to help the world’s Madelines, Marthas, and Martins be God’s Mercy.

Michael Kinsella


Michael Kinsella Phd is a close friend of ACN Ireland and is helping the YOUCAT foundation establish a YOUCAT Development Centre for the training of English speaking catechists.

This article can be found in Mirror 0516.