Sr. Úna was born in Dublin in 1931. Her family were Irish-speaking and all her early education in Dublin was in Irish. This love of the Irish language stayed with her all her life. After leaving school, she joined MMM, aged eighteen. After her initial religious formation, Úna went to do Nursing, first in Drogheda and then in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin as was customary at that time. On the completion of her general training, she then studied midwifery in Drogheda.
Fully qualified, Úna spent a short time as a staff nurse in the I.M.T.H. Hospital (now Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital) before setting out on her first missionary assignment overseas. This was to Nigeria, first to Abakaliki and the to Afikpo. She held a variety of roles, including matron.
In 1963, Úna was asked to return to Ireland to study for her Nurse Tutorship Diploma, a two-year course. On completion, she returned to Nigeria and worked as a Nurse Tutor for the next eighteen years, in Afikpo and Anua, with only a short period in Ireland, helping out as a Nurse Tutor in Drogheda. Una was well suited to Nurse Training and had a tremendous gift of bringing out the best in her students and helping them to dedicate their knowledge to the well-being of the patient.
In 1988, Sr. Úna returned to Drogheda, this time to care for our sick and elderly Sisters in the Infirmary. During this period in Ireland, she also worked as a Nurse Tutor in Drogheda and with her experience and knowledge helped with the setting-up and furnishing of our newly built Aras Mhuire Nursing Home.
Úna was best known for her gentle, out-going personality. She had a beautiful singing voice and quietly showed her concern and interest in the needs of the other Sisters, patients and staff.
In 1994, Úna returned to Africa. This time the call is to East Africa, where they badly needed a Nurse Tutor. She spent six years in Malawi at St. John’s Hospital, Mzuzu and another six years in Ethiopia at St. Luke’s in Wolisso before finally retiring to Ireland in 2007.
In Ireland, Úna spent six years in the Artane community in Dublin before finally coming to Beechgrove in 2013. In December 2018, she moved to Aras Mhuire for extra care, but her death came unexpectedly and suddenly in the early hours of March 11th, 2022. The staff were with her as she quietly slipped away. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Drogheda.