The CEO Fermanagh Women’s Aid has said being asked to speak at the Novena of Hope was an action that brought “tremendous hope” in itself to the organisation.

Mary McCann, was speaking on Wednesday at the Graan about the work of Fermanagh Women’s Aid and the experiences of those who are affected by domestic violence.

The Novena gives Women’s Aid the opportunity to speak to a wide audience about an issue that is not “openly talked about within our community”.

“This is a wonderful privilege for Fermanagh Women’s Aid,” Mary told the congregation. “Doing the work we do on a daily basis – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every week of the year, Christmas and Boxing Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday – hearing what we hear and seeing what we see – it is sometimes very difficult to reach in and find hope within ourselves and within our organisation. Then Fr. Charles reaches out and invites us to tell our story at the Novena of Hope – what tremendous hope that single action brings with it.”

Mary called on those in attendance to take action to help them in their work against domestic violence to give those in need the help required to free them from an environment that could put their lives at risk.

“Domestic violence ruins the lives of women and children. It is the consistent, persistent abuse of power and control over another human being – and children are the silent victims. It is subtle and many times is unseen – it happens behind closed doors and your profession, your position in life, the money you have or the lack of money, none of the earthly achievements make you immune. It knows no boundaries, no race or creed is exempt.

“What can we do together, how can we together be the instruments of good – by awareness and by knowledge.

“We can deliver awareness training to you and as you go about your day, you can easily carry that awareness with you.

“You can become a volunteer with us. You can help us fundraise each year; we need to raise funds of approx. £220,000 on a yearly basis, to keep our services going.

“Together we must hope. But we must work together to give that hope a strong cornerstone and foundation.

“My invitation to you is – what action can you take? No matter how small or big, that can move us to a world where dignity and respect are at the core, a world in which violence has no place.”

Mary described the work of Women’s Aid to the congregation and the situations the 14 women who work for the charity face on a daily basis and thanked al those who have contributed to the work Women’s Aid are doing.

Fr. Charles Cross, Superior at the Graan, said it was brilliant that such a sensitive issue was being discussed at the Novena.

“It is a very sensitive issue and you need people with the experience to talk about it. I impressed by those doing the work.

“I have never heard in all my days heard speaking about it in a Catholic Church and I think this is kind of breaking out and saying lets speak about it and talk about it in an open kind of way and hopefully something will come out of it.”

With the Novena well underway, Fr. Cross has been impressed with how all has went so far and is hoping for it to continue right to the final day.

“I am very impressed by the numbers that are coming out and I am very impressed by the quality of the attendance and quality of listening.

“When you’re in the middle of it it is hard to see how it is going but the first signs are very positive.

“It is important to have speakers with a lot of good things to say. This is coming not just from a book but from peoples lives and that touches people. You stand up there and people hear what you are saying.”

The Novena of Hope continues today (Thursday) until Monday, April 1 at The Graan.

“Fr. Charles reaches out and invites us to tell our story at the Novena of Hope – what tremendous hope that single action brings with it