Sister Veronica was born Brigid Mary Veronica in Ballindoon, Sligo, in 1927, the first in a family of three girls and three boys. Educated by the Marist Sisters in Tubbercurry, Sligo she then trained in institutional management at the College of Catering, Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin. She worked as a catering supervisor in Mullingar County Hospital before joining MMM in 1957.
After profession Veronica was assigned to Ethiopia, where she worked in the internunciature in Addis Ababa for five years. She then did promotion work in Ireland before assignment to the USA in 1969. Based in our house in Winchester, she did fund raising and promotion work for six years and then trained in community development at the Coady Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and in clinical pastoral education in Boston.
Veronica was assigned to Tanzania in 1976, where she coordinated women’s development programmes in Arusha Diocese for eight years. This was followed by five years in Ireland as coordinator of fund raising in the MMM Social Communications Department. She returned to Tanzania in 1990. For the first year she was the coordinator of a HIV education and outreach programme. She then served in MMM leadership for six years.
Sister Veronica returned to Ireland for health reasons in 1998. She was home Sister in the nursing facility, Áras Mhuire, from 1999 to 2004. She then helped in the Motherhouse until March 2013, when her health deteriorated and she transferred to Áras Mhuire for care. She died there peacefully on 19 November 2019.
Veronica was a highly gifted, articulate woman who adapted to places and situations quite readily. While living in our Motherhouse during ‘retirement’ she joined the Drogheda Historical Society and benefitted enormously from the lectures, discussions, outings and social gatherings. She shared these with the MMM community and arranged for well-known speakers to give talks through Our Lady’s Circle – a cultural enrichment committee in the Motherhouse.
In Áras Mhuire she was full of gratitude for all that was done for her and she was interested in the welfare of the nurses and carers. When her sight began to fail she remained cheerful and used her mobile phone to maximum effect to keep in touch with family and friends. She asked Sisters read to her in the evenings.
At her funeral Mass the main celebrant was Fr. Tom Hogan, CSsR, hospital chaplain, and three St. Patrick’s Fathers: Pat Kelly, chaplain in Áras Mhuire; Steve Donoghue and Donald McDonagh. The MMM oratory was packed with family, neighbours, MMMs from other communities, staff and members of the Drogheda Historical Society. Her sister Eleanor, a Marist Sister, gave a beautiful tribute to all who were involved in Veronica’s care over the last six years and expressed the appreciation of all the family.