18 Jun 2019
Just over twenty–five years ago, chef Marian Loftus showed up for her first shift at Corrymeela. It was 31 May, 1994, and at the door she was greeted with the news that the entire kitchen staff had been involved in an accident the night before and she was now needed to prepare food for the entire site.
“I stuck on an apron and stuck in,” Marian says simply. She’s been doing that ever since. And she’s not the only one: housekeepers Shona Scanlan and Roisin McMichaels have been keeping the centre sparkling since 1997 and 1999, respectively. The three women’s hard work, humour, and generosity have benefited entire generations of the Corrymeela community, as well as every staff member, volunteer, and guest to have walked in the door in the last twenty years.
All three of the women stress that the connection with the people is what makes working at Corrymeela so special.
“My favorite part is getting to know the volunteers that come and hearing their stories, and telling my story,” Marian says. Roisin agrees: “I like meeting different people from different nationalities, hearing different stories.”
Shona echoes the love of meeting new volunteers, adding that the atmosphere in the summer and at Christmastime is her particular favorite.
Although working at Corrymeela can come with its challenges, whether that’s training brand new volunteers into the rhythms of the kitchen or convincing young children to make their beds, the three women face it all with a good attitude.
“Sometimes the days are challenging, but it’s rewarding at the end,” Shona says. Corrymeela has been through many changes and shifts throughout the years, but it’s comforting to remember the constants that keep this place clean, well–fed, and grounded with heart and humor. Marian, Shona, and Roisin are deeply woven into the fabric of Corrymeela, and we are lucky to have them among us.