Footprints in Spain 1962 – 1975


Footprints in Spain 1962 – 1975

Spain Leon Archbishop Riberi and Bishop of Leon 3His Excellency, Antonio Riberi, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland and a good friend of MMM, took up duty as Apostolic Nuncio to Spain in June 1962.  Mother Mary Martin visited Spain in August 1962 and set about an MMM foundation in Leon. The Sisters started off in Madrid where they bought an apartment and attended the various universities, colleges and hospitals to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience. Sister M. Rose Casey and Sister-Doctor M. Andrew O’ Donohue were assigned to this mission in September 1962 and very shortly afterwards Sister M. Ignatius Rooney joined them. The principal aim was to attract vocations to the Medical Missionaries of Mary in order to meet the needs of the missions, particularly Latin America. This proved to be a difficult mission. The Sisters had to learn the language and adjust to the Spanish culture. They also had to sit their medical and nursing exams again in Spanish to become eligible to practise their respective professions.

Mother Mary Martin accepted an invitation from the Bishop of Leon to administer a hospital. It was a hundred-bed general and maternity hospital, including a School of Nursing. It also provided accommodation for retired priests. The Sisters went to Leon for short periods during the erection of the hospital but their base was Madrid. In 1965, they took up residence there even though the building was not complete. On 02 January 1966, His Excellency, Antonio Riberi, Nuncio to Spain, celebrated the first Mass in their provisional hospital oratory. The hospital progressed slowly and, by Easter 1968, nine MMM Sisters were in Leon.

Many Spanish girls showed an interest in the Medical Missionaries of Mary and their work but seemed more interested in the lay apostolate. The only girl to go to Ireland for her Postulancy and Novitiate found this was not the life for her and returned to Spain in 1969 before completing her Novitiate. MMM closed the house in Spain in 1975, following a decision taken at the Third Congregational Chapter held in 1974. By then the Congregation was already established in Brazil, a Portuguese-speaking country.


Spain Leon larger groupSr Kathleen Donnelly and others in Leon Spain