Congregational Register No. 2
First and Final Profession 06.01.1947
Died: 10.11.01 Aged: 94 years
Nora Leydon was born in Kilmactrenny in Co. Sligo. Nora was the third child in the family. Her mother died some months after her birth and this circumstance made her very special to her father. After leaving school Nora went to Maguire’s Secretarial College in Dublin.
In 1934, she was working in Kiltegan, Co. Wicklow, as secretary to Fr. Whitney, the founder of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society. Maybe it was working in Kiltegan that helped her to discern her own missionary vocation and she talked it over with Fr. Whitney. He told her about Marie Martin, who was hoping to found a medical missionary congregation, and a meeting was arranged. The meeting was to change the direction of her life, as she opted to accompany Mother Mary to Glenstal as the first MMM postulant. Her father found it hard to accept this life-changing decision.
Nora stayed in Glenstal until 1936. Marie then arranged that Nora would start her midwifery training in Holles Street Maternity Hospital in Dublin, with Bridie O’Rourke (later Sr. Magdalen). On completion of her training, still a postulant, Sr. Patrick travelled to Anua in Nigeria to begin her missionary life. As the Second World War broke out in 1939, travel restrictions were imposed. Sr. Patrick stayed in Anua, doing both nursing and secretarial work right through late 1946, when relief was finally sent out to Nigeria. During this time she completed her year’s canonical novitiate under the direction of the Holy Child Sisters. With special permission, in 1947 Sr. Patrick made both first and final profession in the same ceremony. She returned to Anua, where she continued in the same ministry until 1957.
In 1957 Sr. Patrick returned to Ireland and to office work in Bettystown, Clonmel and Waterford. Between 1968 and 1983, she worked in the office of the Lourdes Laundry. After her retirement, she spent many active years in the Motherhouse, helping out with general duties until ill health finally took hold. Sr. Patrick went about her work quietly and with little fuss. She was known for her loyalty, commitment, perseverance and her deep faith. Her prayer life was deep and constant. Later it was said of her that she was “the unsung heroine” of MMM.
In 1994 she transferred to the newly opened Áras Mhuire. For some years she enjoyed relatively stable health and was still able to participate in community events in the Motherhouse. In 2001 her health deteriorated further and she died peacefully in November.
Sr. M. Patrick is buried in Drogheda in a grave alongside the tomb of Mother Mary Martin.