Keane, Sr. M. St. John

Keane, Sr. M. St. John

Nationality: Irish
Congregational Register No: 07
D.O.B.: 10.02.1903
First Profession: 06.01.1945
Died: 06.01.1966 Aged: 63 years

One of our founding members, Maeve, known to her family and friends as ‘Golly’, from Co. Galway, first met Marie Martin, the future Mother Mary, on 27 December 1936.

She went to Marie’s home, Greenbank, the next day. MMM was not founded when, with Miss Leydon and Miss Murphy, she started her midwifery training in Holles Street Maternity Hospital in Dublin. She later recalled: ‘In my ignorance I thought I was then a postulant and left my cosmetics and cigarettes to a friend who came with me in the taxi to Holles Street.’

It was many years before we note her first profession, because on completion of her training she went to St. Luke’s Hospital in Anua, Nigeria. These were the World War II years and travel to and from Africa was discouraged because of the potential danger to shipping from U-boats. A special dispensation was obtained, and her novitiate canonical year and profession were postponed until her return to Ireland in 1945. She returned to Nigeria in 1948 and worked in Ogoja until 1950.

St. John was an ‘all-rounder’ but her main ministry after 1950 was in general promotion work in Ireland and the USA. She was one of the founder members of our first MMM community in the USA. She was a great person for celebrating and to the end of her life preserved her youthful spirit.

In 1952, she was assigned as superior to Dareda in Tanzania, returning to Drogheda in 1955. Some time after that, she spent two years as postulant mistress in Clonmel.

Sr. St. John was a great collector of old clothes and always had something for those in need. She was known for dressing one child from the Travelling community for First Holy Communion, each year.

On the anniversary of her profession, 6 January, she was called home to God unexpectedly. She was found peacefully asleep and already at rest. A few days previously she had organised a sale of work in Drogheda, which was opened by a TV and radio celebrity, Gay Byrne – an achievement that gave her great joy. She had all the accounts in order and had handed over the money to Sr. M. Magdalen. A few days previously she had even donated her precious canary, seemingly preparing for her final call. No doubt, she was ready.

Sr. St. John is buried in Drogheda.