Kerr, Sr. M. Benedict

Kerr, Sr. M. Benedict

Nationality:    Irish
Congregational Register No. 177
D.O.B.:    23.12.1919
First Profession:   07.09.1949
Died:  07.01.2010   Aged:  90 years
Christina Kathleen Kerr was raised in Dundalk, Co. Louth, with two brothers and two sisters.  As a child she spent a lot of time in Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital. At that time Cappagh was in the middle of the country, surrounded by open fields and fresh air, which was considered beneficial for sick children.  While Christina was in Cappagh, she met another little girl, Anne Bridget Joan Clifton, later to become MMM’s Sr. Joan of Arc.  Was it just a happy coincidence that both girls would grow up to become MMMs?

Christina entered MMM in 1946, aged 27, and took the name Sr. Mary Benedict.  Following formation, she worked in various departments in Drogheda in secretarial and accountancy roles, having already trained as a typist and bookkeeper.  She had a stiff knee, which impaired her mobility somewhat, but did not affect her work in any way.

In 1961, Sr. Benedict was missioned to Nigeria and worked as the hospital secretary and accountant at the Joint Hospital in Ikom.  Unfortunately, the climate was to prove hard on Benedict’s health and in 1966 she returned to Ireland, where she was to remain for the rest of her life.

After returning to Ireland, Sr. Benedict was the secretary and bookkeeper in the new metabolic unit in the IMTH until 1969. This was to be a period of discernment for Sr. Benedict who, always a woman of prayer, was feeling a call to the contemplative life.  She obtained permission to try her contemplative vocation in the Franciscan Convent of Perpetual Adoration, Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim in October 1969.  After a period of time, Benedict decided that her true vocation was with MMM.  Both her decision to go from and return to MMM were made with serenity and peace.  She was much loved at the Convent of Perpetual Adoration and was eagerly welcomed home by MMM in 1971.

She then worked in Waterford, Mell, and finally in the MMM Returned Missionaries section in Drogheda.  Wherever she was, she shared her accounting skills with grateful (often reluctant) bursars who were finding the ‘books’ difficult on top of their other duties. She was a gracious, gentle and serene presence, a ‘wisdom figure’ with a lovely welcoming way about her and a beautiful smile that lit up her face and other people’s hearts.

Sr. Benedict was transferred to Áras Mhuire in 2006 because of deteriorating health; there she enjoyed the love and care of Sisters and staff.  During her final months she became quite helpless, but never once complained, accepting God’s plan for her. She slipped quietly away on 7 January. All who met her felt they were better for having known her.