Here’s a story I shared at last week’s event organised by me, John Paul and Paul Long.
Some stories stick with you forever.
These tales are shared with you, and find a special place in your heart and mind.
The following story and its message had that effect on me.
It carries a critical message for estate and letting agents.
Around 20 years ago, a friend called Declan told me a story about his auntie Mary, Sister Mary, to give her the most often-used moniker.
It was one of those stories where I can remember exactly where I was—leaning against my clapped-out VW Golf on the Stonebridge Estate in London, where I grew up.
The Story of Sister Mary
Dermot’s aunt had become a nun in West Ireland in the 1950s. She was in her early twenties.
It was not uncommon for Irish families to have children dedicate their lives to the Catholic Church.
Sister Mary’s spiritual calling took her 6077 miles away (as the crow flies, I Googled it) to South Africa. She never returned to the village in Galway where she grew up.
This was a South Africa deep in the evils of apartheid at the time.
Sister Mary was sent as a missionary to a township. I can’t recall the name, but I remember it wasn’t Soweto.
She embraced her community work with the violently oppressed African people.
Dermot told me she saw her role as someone there to care for the people rather than convert them to a credo.
She lived among the dignity-sapping poverty, the suffocating oppression and the state-backed regime of violence, intimidation, and fear.
She saw the riots, the brutal police raids. She crossed the line between spirituality and politics by joining the fight to end the inhumane abomination which was apartheid.
Sister Mary was there when Nelson Mandela was jailed in 1962.
She was there cheering along with the townspeople when he was released from prison in 1990.
Sister Mary had grown old.
She had watched babies grow into adults, witnessing families become splintered by the evils of oppression and united by a common goal of freedom.
The petite nun from a faraway land was a part of South Africa’s story.
A Homecoming Offer
Declan, a natural-born storyteller, told me his father had visited her in South Africa on her 70th birthday.
It was the first time the siblings had seen each other in over 40 years.
Dermot’s dad asked her why she didn’t come ‘home’? Back to Ireland, where she could see out her days in comfort and relative peace.
The new South Africa was fairer but also more violent and, in many ways, increasingly unstable. He was worried about her future.
He chipped away at her during his stay, selling all the benefits of being back home surrounded by a large, supportive family.
Her ultimate response stopped his pleas in their tracks.
And was something we could all do with remembering.
Sister Mary turned to the brother she loved dearly and said: “I can’t leave.”
He tried one last time. “But Mary, wouldn’t you like to be back home with your people.”
She paused (dramatically, according to Declan) and gently said: “Brother, this is my home, and these are my people.”
Sister Mary died peacefully in South Africa a few years after that visit.
She was remembered fondly by people in Ireland but adored and revered by her people in South Africa.
She had done a lot of good in a time when things over there were very, very bad.
What’s this got to do with agents?
Many agents serve the area they call home. They are part of the community.
They support people in their community.
The best agents, without fail in my experience, give back to and are committed to their community. It’s what makes them stand out.
It’s what gains them the respect, recognition and, dare I say it, love of sections of their community.
Just like Sister Mary.
Thanks for reading.
PS: Our latest guide – Selling Your Home in Winter, is now on sale for £200+VAT and includes EIGHT bonus blogs to drive people towards it. Email me to find out if your area is available. Postcode exclusivity applies.