First Medical Year 1959

First Medical Year 1959

by Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer MMM                 U.S.A.                   10.07.2023

It was the driest summer on record. Water was sold in Donegal for two shillings and six pence a bucket. Coming from the United States, I had never experienced such a pleasant summer and enjoyed swimming in the Atlantic Ocean in Killybegs. Bishop Mc Ginley kindly gave us the use of his home, Bruac-na Mara which was less than a mile’s walk to the Ocean. The water was a little on the chilly side but a group of us went there for two weeks and enjoyed every minute of the fun we had. Sr. Perpetua Kelly told us we were the best crowd ever at our departure. She certainly was good to us and made us feel so welcomed.

Soon it was time to return to our house of studies, Rosemount, in Dublin. We began to take out the SKELETAL bones from the cupboard to prepare for our Anatomy classes in the Fall. There was a retreat to make, housework to do, visitors to entertain and an occasional swim in Killiney to enjoy. We were kept happy and occupied.

To prepare for my renewal of vows on September 8th, Mother Mary said I could go to Drogheda a few days earlier to attend some retreat conferences. I was delighted and to top it off I could stay in Bettystown. Some of the Sisters who were for Final Profession that year were also in Bettystown and taught me how to play the card game, Rummy. Somehow, I won, and my prize was sweet smelling bath salts which I enjoyed tremendously. There were about thirty Sisters renewing their vows and after attending the early convent Mass those who were not on duty sang in the choir for the Final Profession ceremonies. The Magnificat was sung in three parts, and I believe Sr. Cecilia Azuzu can still render the high notes and sing it beautifully.

Before we knew it, our classes of Anatomy, Practical Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry and Ethics began. As I said before, we lost thirty members of our previous pre-med class but were delighted to find ten Americans who had done Pre-Med in the States and for some reason had delayed going to Medical School and had now joined us. It was good to have them with us and we got to know them quite well.

Sr. Helen O’Brien and Sr Ian started Premed and it was good to be back with the Sisters in the years ahead of us. We now moved to St. Annes to sleep, and we could study in the main house until 11pm. Miss Ethyl Martin was on the ground floor and often greeted us as we passed by. She was always busy with the apostolic work of making vestments and linens for the missions.

Anatomy lectures were quite fascinating. Every little indentation on the bone had a name and a corresponding muscle attached or inserted. One of our lecturers was Dr. William O Connell who was given the nick name, Billy Bones. He is remembered by the eloquent way he described the radial- ulna joint as having an ellipsoidal- condyloid surface. I found this easy to memorize but hard to picture. Professor Coakley had a very polished Dublin accent, and I loved listening to him speak. He taught us Anatomy very well. All went well until we reached the Anatomy Dissection Room and then we realized the importance of really knowing our Anatomy for the rest of our lives. A cadaver was presented to groups of us for dissection. Ours was approached with reverence and thanksgiving for the gift of knowledge she was giving us. I often think and pray for her. May she rest in peace.

Physiology was extremely interesting, and we went from one organ to the next to fathom the intricate workings of each one. God did a marvelous job to get it all going together so smoothly. Biochemistry was intriguing. So much could be learned about the chemistry of living things. A priest taught us Ethics and we were led to the truth that good medicine is good ethics. We were to take an oath not to do harm to anyone.

The lectures continued followed by intense study and reading of the various textbooks until our Christmas vacation came and that is another story.