Sister Nancy was born Anne Hilliard in Maio, Moynalty, Co. Meath in 1929, and was one of eleven children. She received her early education in Navan and joined the Medical Missionaries of Mary in 1947.
After qualifying as a physician in UCD, her first assignment was to Tanzania in 1956, where she spent seven years at Chala and Mpanda clinics. In 1963 she responded to a request from Kitovu Hospital in Uganda for a doctor to relieve for a year.
In 1964 Sister Nancy went to London to obtain her Primary Fellowship in Surgery. In 1965 she went to Malawi, where she served for twelve years in Mzuzu. In 1977, she added Nkhata Bay to her duties for a further three years.
Returning to Ireland in 1981, she studied for Part I of a diploma in public health from UCD and USC. In 1982 she obtained a diploma in tropical medicine in Liverpool. She then spent four years as a Palliative Care Research Fellow in St. Luke’s Hospital in Dublin and was granted a membership in the Faculty of Community Medicine by the Royal College of Physicians.
In 1988, Nancy established St. Bridget’s Hospice on the Isle of Man, the first of its kind there. She spent seven years as medical director and a further four years part-time. She obtained a diploma in palliative medicine from the University of Wales.
In 2003 she joined the Motherhouse community in Beechgrove, Drogheda. Because of health problems she transferred to Áras Mhuire in 2006.
She died at Aras Mhuire on 2 August 2012.