Sister Moyra Martin (formerly Sister Alacoque) was born in Reaghstown, Ardee, Co. Louth in 1927. The second youngest in a family of six girls and four boys, she attended school locally and in the Saint Louis Convent in Co. Monaghan. She trained as a nurse after joining MMM in 1946. She began her training in the International Missionary Training Hospital (IMTH-now Our Lady of Lourdes) and completed it in Jervis Street Hospital in Dublin. In 1953, Moyra was assigned to Nigeria and was a ward sister in Saint Luke’s Hospital in Anua for five years.
She then completed her training as a nursing tutor in London. After several months as nurse tutor in the IMTH, she returned to Anua, where for six years she was principal tutor in Saint Luke’s Hospital and a member of the Nursing Council for Nigeria.
In early 1969 Sister Moyra returned to Ireland and was acting principal tutor in the IMTH. She also helped in our house in Clonmel for several months. After a short time as a nursing tutor in England, in 1971 she was assigned to Kenya and was a senior tutor in the Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya for three years. On one occasion she met and chatted with Prince Charles.
In 1974 Moyra got the opportunity to study theology in Regina Mundi, Rome, which she appreciated very much. She was able to put it into good use over the years. In 1975 she was assigned as principal tutor to our hospital in Dareda, Tanzania.
Sister Moyra returned to Ireland in 1978. For a short time she was acting principal tutor in the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin. At that time she underwent major surgery, which prevented her from returning to Africa. She then helped in the Apostolic delegation in London. Then she was assigned to mission awareness work, which she did for several years. She also did relief work as a nurse tutor in several hospitals around Ireland.
In 1989 Moyra moved to Dublin. For a short time she did pastoral work in Virgin Mary Parish in Ballymun. In 1990 she was assigned to our house in Clonsilla, where for sixteen years she continued pastoral work in Mountview Parish. There she was also part of a team that gave An Síol (the seed) retreats to small groups, planting the seed of Christ in the hearts of the participants. She participated in the adult education programme in the parish, giving lectures in theology, scripture and related topics.
Sister Moyra moved to our Motherhouse in Beechgrove, Drogheda, in 2006, where she was sacristan and helped with other duties. She helped to prepare children for baptism and First Communion and engaged in community activities.
Over the years, her health deteriorated gradually, and in July 2016 she moved to Áras Mhuire for nursing care. She died there peacefully on 13 August 2018.
Moyra was a deeply spiritual person. While her demeanour could be serious and her attention to detail exact, she could also bring great enjoyment. She was an avid reader from an early age, so much so that her mother described her as ‘the lady of the family’, who preferred to bury her head in books rather than do more practical work! In her later years, she continued to feed her love of literature and knowledge and was able to quote passages of poems even up to the last weeks of her life. When she was sent to study to be a tutor she discovered her love for and skill in teaching. Her students appreciated her humour and attention to detail. She loved her students and enjoyed their sense of fun.
She loved her family and kept in contact with her many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews in Ireland, the UK and Canada, who were attentive to the end.