I Called Her Mary: A Memoir by Margaret M. O’Hagan and Thomas A Gorman, Ed.D.

Dear Fellow Reader,

Valentine’s Day is coming. A day that is dreaded by many and thought of as fun by others. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love.

Well, I have a story for you that is all about love. Not wildly romantic love (although there is some romantic love in the story) but it tells of many kinds of love. You read about the love for parents for their children, the love between those children, the love of a mother for a child and the sacrifices that a mother will make for her child, and the love that children can have for their parents.

In I Called Her Mary, we meet Margaret O’Hagan. Margaret grew up poor in Ireland. She was born in 1937 and was the third of seven children. While not physically expressive of their love for each other, they nonetheless showed love in their actions and support.

My parents loved each other. They were very kind and their love carried over to all of us. We didn’t have much in the way of material things, but we had love. What else could a family possibly need? We must have been pretty stupid to be so happy in our squalor, but us kids didn’t know any better. We laughed every night and had so much fun together. It doesn’t really take that much to have a good time, especially when you have nothing.

I Called Her Mary

When Margaret was 18, she felt funny one day and the doctor came and checked on her. He told her and her mother that she was pregnant – 7 months pregnant. There were not many options for an unwed pregnant girl in Ireland back in 1955. Two weeks after the doctor’s announcement, Margaret was on her way to Sean Ross Abbey, a convent run by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary. There she stayed until the birth of her baby. Mary (as Margaret named her) was born on April 24, 1955. Margaret was sure that her parents would come and get her and the baby. The nuns told her that they wouldn’t. But they did. Margaret went home with Mary and despite the sigma of their daughter having a child out of wedlock, they supported her. They loved both Margaret and her baby.

Margaret never would have predicted that the townspeople would be so terrible to her and the baby. They thought nothing of calling them derogatory names. They even barred her from entering the Church for Mass. It became apparent that if Mary was going to have the life that Margaret hoped for her that she would have to give her up for adoption. With a heavy heart but a belief that it was the best for her daughter, Margaret interviewed two parties and decided to give her beloved daughter to a family from the United States.

After two months, Margaret knew that she could not stay in Ireland any longer. There was nothing there for her. So, she obtained a sponsor and moved to New York to work for a family.

Margaret never forgot her daughter and wondered if she had had the life that she had hoped for when she let her be adopted. But life moved on for over 50 years. Margaret found love and had a family in the United States.

Then one day she received a call from Ireland. Her daughter was looking for her. Did she want to be found?

I truly enjoyed I Called Her Mary. It was a quick read and told a good story. While there were tough times, there was so much love. I think that you should put it on your TBR (to be read) pile.

You know how I often have to put in the disclaimer that I was given the book to read in exchange for my honest review? While that is not the case with this book, I do want to tell you that I know one of the people involved in this story. Does that color my perception? I don’t think so. A good story is a good story, and I didn’t know the whole story before I read the book.

The book is available through Amazon and can be found through this link.

Thanks for reading!


About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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