Duignan, Sr. M. Renee

Sr. Renee, baptised Bridget Mary, was born in 1943 in Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim. She studied at local schools and at the age of seventeen was invited by relatives to the USA. There, for some years she worked as a bank teller in a bank in New York, but all the while discerning her vocation to religious life.

She joined MMM in America in 1964 and had her early formation years in Winchester MA. On returning to Ireland in 1967 she spent the next nine years training as nurse and midwife, studying theology and gaining some experience in the nursing field. She even had the privilege of nursing Mother Mary Martin, our foundress, for a year.

In 1967 she went to Malawi. Initially she was assigned to a remote clinic in Nkhata Bay, but after three years moved to St. John’s Hospital in Mzuzu. Here she was staff nurse and later matron of the hospital. At the same time, she was being called to MMM leadership at local level.

In 1985 her years in Malawi came to an abrupt halt when she was elected to the Central Leadership Team, at that time located in Mell, Drogheda. Later the Team moved to Dublin and Sr. Renee remained in Central Leadership for a full twelve years. In 1997 she was able to have some time for personal renewal in USA before being called to a new MMM adventure.

In response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch, MMM decided to open a mission in Honduras and Sr. Renee was one of the founding members. She studied language in Mexico first and stayed in Honduras from 1998 right up to the closure of this mission at the end of 2021.

She loved her work in Honduras. She was a coordinator of a Pastoral Health Care Programme at parish level both in Marcala and in Choloma, programmes that integrated primary health care with pastoral work.

Sr. Renee was a gentle person, but one with a great sense of humour. She also had an innate wisdom and was a good friend.

In 2021, knowing that her time in Honduras would be ending soon, she volunteered for a new multi-cultural community that was being formed on the outskirts of Drogheda. Unfortunately, her health deteriorated, and she was unable to join this new venture. After some months of care in the clinic in Beechgrove, she was admitted to hospital and died peacefully on 28th July 2023 and is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery.

Sr. Mairead Gorman was born in Armagh, Northern Ireland in February 1931 and baptised Bridget. She came from a family of six, four girls and two boys. She had her schooling locally and in secondary school concentrated on secretarial skills. She went on to study this later in Belfast. After leaving school, Bridget worked for seven years as a shorthand typist and telephonist in Armagh before deciding to join MMM in 1957.

After her initial religious formation, she made profession of vows in 1959, taking the name Mairead. As she was already a qualified secretary and telephonist her skills were well used in the convent office in Drogheda for the first ten years of her missionary life.

In 1968 she travelled to Uganda, her first overseas assignment. After three years she asked to study for nursing and she returned to London where she did a nursing course in the North London School of Nursing, followed by midwifery studies in Drogheda.

On qualifying as a nurse midwife, Sr. Mairead was then assigned to Tanzania for two years before moving on the Ethiopia where she stayed for over twenty years and where she said she had left her heart. Initially she worked in the south of the country in famine relief and when that was brought under control, she moved to Dadim and worked with the Borana nomadic people for many years. She loved Ethiopia, the people, the work, and the climate. Her personality blossomed there, and she even learnt two of the native languages, Sidamo and Oromo. She spent 24 years of her life working in a variety of roles in different MMM missions, in Mikke and Awasa as well as Dadim, mainly nursing but also coordinating “Women in Development” programmes, Clinic and Community Health programmes and, in later years, AIDS programmes.

On her return to Ireland in 2005, Sr. Mairead lived in the community in Ashleigh Heights, Drogheda for several years before moving to the Motherhouse in 2017. In 2010 she did return to Ethiopia briefly to help close the mission in Addis Ababa. While living in Beechgrove, she was working in Aras Mhuire Nursing Home, helping in the office.

Sr. Mairead was noted for her gentleness and her ability to do small acts of kindness, almost unnoticed. She was wise, and in decision-making always weighed up the pros and cons carefully before coming to a conclusion. She enjoyed family visits and generally kept a positive attitude even during the years when her health needs increased. She had a good sense of humour but was often stubborn to change her mind once she was convinced of something! She was a good listener and not a gossiper.

For full time nursing care, she moved to Aras Mhuire Nursing home in May 2022, and she finally died there after a long illness on February 11th, 2024, just three days after her 93rd birthday. She is buried in Drogheda.

Sr. Jude Walsh, born in 1921 and baptised Mary Agnes, came from Tourlestrane, Co. Sligo. He was known in the family as “May”. Her primary education was local, but she attended St. Louis Convent, Kiltimagh, Co.Mayo for her secondary education. After school she qualified as a pharmacist as a Member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (MPSI), She remained working in Dublin and worked there for a year before joining MMM in 1947. Several years later in 1978, she was given an Honorary Fellowship in Pharmacy (FPSL) for her many years of service throughout the world to those less well off.

In 1947, she wrote to Mother Mary Martin, expressing her interest in the Medical Missionaries of Mary. Mother Mary immediately saw in this young woman great potential and gave her a date to come, almost immediately!

In 1950, now called Sr. Jude, she was professed and soon found herself, at last, on her way to the place of her dreams, Nigeria, several weeks journey by boat. There she worked in the first foundation of the Medical Missionaries of Mary, Anua Hospital, setting up the pharmacy and training local staff to run it with her. After two very happy years she was transferred to another newly built MMM hospital at Afikpo, to repeat the same process and a few years later she was off again to the next new hospital in Obudu to do the same. It was a time of great expansion for the Medical Missionaries of Mary. In Ireland, USA, Britain, girls and women with religious vocations were pouring into Drogheda and soon young women in Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania were feeling this mysterious call to devote their lives to God and the missions.

The Medical Missionaries of Mary Convent in Drogheda, the Motherhouse, was brimming over with young sisters and Sr. Jude was called home to be the sister-in-charge. There she worked closely with the MMM Foundress, Mother Mary Martin imbibing her spirit and vision for the young congregation.  From then on, her life was in leadership, in Ireland, USA, Brazil, and as Mother General of the Congregation for eleven years. During these years she travelled to all the MMM communities in Africa, South America, Europe, United States, Brazil and Taiwan where we had one community.

Eventually she handed over her leadership roles and at 67 years of age, still a young woman, went to Masaka in Uganda to the MMM Kitovu Hospital where she found herself again in the ministry she loved, Pharmacy. Sr. Jude was the old type of pharmacist who knew the ingredients for mixtures and creams, which had worked very well in her pharmacy in Rathmines in Dublin and now, worked just as well, and were less expensive for the people of Masaka area who at that time were suffering from the AIDS pandemic. Of course, all the modern drugs were also available but many times these mixtures worked much better and had few, if any, side effects. The next five years in Uganda, she said, were among the happiest of her life.

However, the life of a Medical Missionary of Mary is not planned by the individual and in 1999 Sr. Jude was in the air again, this time to Chicago for six years to help with fundraising for the mission needs of the congregation.
Sr. Jude stayed in Chicago until poor eyesight forced her return in 1999. She became an active member of the Drogheda MMM community in Beechgrove, always the first to greet guests as they come to visit. She was known as a great correspondent with friends all over the world. Her Christmas post weighed down the postman!

In November 2020, Sr. Jude moved to Aras Mhuire Nursing Home for extra care and there she celebrated 100th birthday in August 2021. She enjoyed the celebration and was in close contact with her family. Gradually her health began to fail, and she died peacefully on October 12th, 2023. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Drogheda.

Sr. Maureen Clarke, baptized Maureen Margaret, was born in Leeds, England in July 1934, of Irish parents and enjoyed her dual nationality. Her early education was local in Doncaster but attended a Sisters of Mercy boarding school for her secondary education. After leaving school, she helped her mother in the running of the family hotel for some years before attending a Secretarial Course and joining the Civil Service. She was posted to Scarborough to the Inland Revenue Valuation Office.

Maureen joined MMM in 1959 and came to the Novitiate in Drogheda. As a second-year novice, she was already working in the Admissions Office in the I.M.T.H (now Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital). As a young Sister, she worked in the Editor’s office and in promotion work where her secretarial skills were well used.
Following her Final Profession of Vows in 1967, Maureen went to Dublin and did a Social Science degree at University College, Dublin. This was followed by a postgraduate course in Social Work and Social Administration at York University and work experience in Cheshire as a social worker with the County Council.

In 1975, Sr. Maureen went to Kenya and was involved in social work in Eldoret and also helped other organizations by carrying out social surveys. She returned to Ireland in 1980 and was assigned accompany lay volunteers, helping them with their visa applications and general orientation. In 1981, she went to England to care for her elderly mother and took up responsibilities in the Romiley community which had been established in 1979. She was employed by the local authority as a social worker, specializing in work with mental disability and eldercare. For two years she moved into more specialized work for the Alzheimer’s Disease Society of Birmingham.

In 1992, Sr. Maureen transferred to London, to the Ealing community. Here she did part-time counselling and was the contact person for vocations and MMM Associates. She also assumed a Leadership role. She stayed in Ealing until December 2019, when she returned to retire in the Motherhouse.

Sr, Maureen was a soft-spoken, kind and gentle person. She was always attentive to the needs of others and had a quiet sense of humour.
In September 2023, Sr. Maureen transferred to Aras Mhuire for extra nursing care but shortly afterwards was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. She died there peacefully on October 11th, 2023. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Drogheda.


Kathleen Mary Jones was born in Bagnalstown, Co. Carlow in May 1933. She was the youngest of nine children. Her early education was local and after her secondary education she worked in a hairdressing salon, rising quickly to be manager of a salon in Cork. But her attraction was not to the beauty industry but to a life of service to the poor and needy. Kathleen joined MMM in 1954, aged 21, taking the name of Sr. M. Celine.

After her First Profession of Vows, Celine was in charge of catering in the Maternity Hospital in Drogheda. At the same time, she studied typing and book-keeping, skills she knew would be useful in her future life overseas. After four years her desire was granted. She was assigned to Nigeria, Use-Abat, Anua and Ibadan where she worked as Sister in Charge and Hospital Secretary. During her time in Use-Abat, she was also given responsibility for the orphanage. This sparked her love of children, and this stayed with her throughout her life. Sr. Celine worked in Nigeria between 1961 and 1977.

Unfortunately, Celine’s missionary life in Nigeria was punctuated by a period of ill health. All through the years, Celine’s health has been delicate, but it never stopped her giving herself, heart and soul into any project she was involved in. When in Ireland she helped with promotion work, the Dublin Sale of Work and she even was assigned to the Apostolic Nunciature for several years in the 1980s. During these periods in Ireland, she upgraded her education with a Diplomas in Community Development and the Residential Care of Children and Young People.

In 1993, Celine’s health had improved, and she desired a return to overseas mission. A change of climate was advised, and so she went to Uganda and the community of Makondo. Here she ran a nursery school, looking after many orphans during the HIV/Aids epidemic. This doubled with social work in the school food project and housing aid. Makondo and its needs was never far from her heart and even on her eventual return to Ireland she ceaselessly fund-raised so that the work could continue. Throughout her life she was a great correspondent with many people, and they returned the correspondence and offered donations for the work at the same time. Sr. Celine was a very sociable, out-going person and many people remark on her kindness to them.

Sr. Celine returned to Ireland finally in 2011. For some years she was attached to the Bettystown community, offering hospitality to the Sisters who needed rest. When the house closed for repairs, she moved into the Motherhouse community and had an active retirement when her health allowed it, working in the Stamp Department, and visiting Aras Mhuire Nursing Home.

Sr. Celine herself transferred to Aras Mhuire in August 2022 and her health declined slowly. She died peacefully on 27th September 2023. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Drogheda.

Agnes Manifold was born in Dublin in January 1931. Her early education was in Dublin and after secondary school she studied secretarial skills in a further education college. She worked in Dublin for a few years and then joined MMM in 1962.
After her initial religious formation, Sr. Agnes had a lot of varied experiences, helping MMM in Ireland when it was in its phase of expansion. She helped with the Dublin Sale of work, in the office in the Maternity Hospital in Drogheda and even did a spell in the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin.

During this time, Mother Mary realised the great need for Sisters to fly small planes in Africa. They carried medical supplies, ferried patients to hospital, and doctors to remote clinics. Some Sisters were already trained, and Sr. Agnes was called upon to be one of that small band of women pilots. She trained at Dublin airport and received her pilot’s license in 1971. Sr. Agnes was a very versatile person, able to adapt to situations where needs arose and always ready to say ‘yes’.

In 1972 she went to Uganda for a short period and then on to Kenya where she used her flying skills in the Turkana Desert. But this was a brief period in her life, as she was called home to Ireland to do Mission Awareness work in various dioceses for three years – 1975 to 1978.
On her return to Kenya, Agnes trained in clinical pastoral care and worked in Lokitaung, Eldoret and Kitale. She finally left Kenya in 1990. In Ireland she had a brief assignment to Kilmacow where MMM ran a Nursing Home and Agnes helped out in both pastoral care and as the bursar and then, in 1992, Agnes made another major cultural change. This time it was to Nigeria where she used her secretarial skills and also worked as a pastoral minister in Benin City and Ibadan for four years.

Agnes returned to Ireland from Nigeria in 1997 and for the next few years worked as a bursar and in pastoral ministry in several of our houses, Mell, Kilmacow and Artane. During this period, she had the chance to return again to Kenya for one year, helping out in the Kitale community and working with women’s groups in the parish to promote income generating projects.

Sr. Agnes finally came to the Motherhouse community in 2017 when her health needed more attention. She was an active member in community and enjoyed visitors and family visits. She was a lively and entertaining member of community, full of energy and in her young days, was a gifted Irish dancer. She was the life and soul of any group of any age.

As her health began to deteriorate, she finally moved to Aras Mhuire in 2019 for extra care and she died peacefully on Sunday, 27th August 2023. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Drogheda.


Sr. M. Pacelli Ward, baptised Margaret Mary and known as May, was born in Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan, in October 1926.  Her early education was in the local primary school, followed by secondary education at St. Louis Convent School.

In 1950, Margaret went to Dublin to study pharmacy, but at the same time, she must have been attracted to religious life, as she entered MMM early in 1951, continuing her studies as a postulant and as a second-year novice.  This would have been common in the early days of MMM.  At the time of her First Profession of Vows, she took the religious name of Sr. M. Pacelli.

She remained in Ireland for only a year after her Profession.  Newly qualified in pharmacy she set out for a lifetime of service to the poor and needy using these skills.  Her first assignment was to Nigeria, to Anua Hospital, where she was the pharmacist for nine years. During this time, she helped train local people in basic pharmacy skills.

In 1968 she was asked to return to Ireland. She was given the responsibility of being the Sister in Charge of the MMM community at Airmount Hospital in Waterford.  This was a three- year assignment followed by updating in pharmacy in London and Drogheda. Then Sr. Pacelli was ready for yet another adventure!

This time it was to East Africa, the place that became home to her.  She arrived in 1973 and her first assignment was to Namanyere, Tanzania. This was followed by Dareda, Makiungu and also Kabanga and Masaka in Uganda. In 1987, Sr. Pacelli returned to Ireland to “retire”.  She worked in parish work in Dublin for a few years, but the desire to return to East Africa was strong! So, in 1989, off she went again for another thirteen years.  This was mostly in Kabanga Hospital in Tanzania.

In 1992, Sr. Pacelli returned to the Motherhouse in Drogheda where she was an active member of the community for several years.  She was a woman of many gifts and talents, artistic and outgoing and adaptable to changes around her.

She was always very close to her family in Monaghan.  On one occasion when on home leave, her sister-in-law became ill, and Pacelli looked after the children for a few months until things returned to normal.  The same children, now well into adulthood, have happy memories of those months when she looked after them and they continue to have a great relationship with her.

In 2022, she transferred to Áras Mhuire Nursing Home as her health was declining.  In 2023, her health deteriorated further, and she died peacefully on 24th July 2023.  She is buried in Drogheda.

18/12/1921 –  27/06/2023
Sr. M. Adalbert Simakova (Bibi) was born in Masov, Czech Republic, Petrovice, Czechoslovakia, the daughter of Anastasie (née Prochazkova) and Frantrisek Simakova and was the second in a family of five.  She was baptised Bozena Marie.
As a young woman she left school early to help provide for her family and was employed by an Army Officer’s family, the Sumans, with whom she has remained friendly right up to the present day.  During her time with the family, she attended Mass in the Jesuit Church in the city and when possible attended youth group meetings of the Czech Catholic Action, an organisation forbidden by the regime of the time.  Among the many talks she attended there was one by a Fr. Horaek S.J. who spoke of missionaries and their work and how he was willing to help any young person who felt called to missionary life.  Bibi eventually got talking to him, expressing a desire to do just that and with his influence got a place in the Nursing School run by the Charles Borremo Sisters with a view to leaving the country as a missionary when qualified.  Several years later he contacted his Jesuit confreres in Propaganda Fide in Rome about Bibi and another newly qualified nurse who wished to become missionaries.  In the strange ways of providence, he was advised to contact a Fr. Hugh Kelly S.J. in Ireland who, by coincidence, was Spiritual Director of Mother Mary Martin, Foundress of the recently founded MMM’s.
The rest is history. Contact was made with Mother Mary via Fr. Hugh and Bibi entered MMM on 08/09/1948, speaking very little English and also facing challenges both culturally and with traditions. In her second year Novitiate she, together with four professed Sisters, were assigned to the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin, serving the Holy See in the person of the Nuncio and his household, a new commitment for MMM.
Bibi worked in the Nunciature for five years, showing herself to be extremely talented in many ways, especially working as both Chef and Household Manager. She was a great planner, full of initiative and imagination and always eager to learn more. She together with the other Sisters hosted many large diplomatic dinners for the many visitors who came.
Her next assignment was to London, working in the Apostolic Delegation where she played a similar role as in Dublin. It was an interesting time in the history of the Church when Pope John 23rd called the Second Vatican Council which involved many visitors of many denominations as well as Cardinals, Bishops and members of the Royal Family visiting the Delegation. Once again Bibi surpassed herself running the Delegation with great skill, creativity and a warm personality.
During these years, she was always aware of the presence of MMM Sisters attending various courses and programmes in London and went out of her way to welcome them warmly and help them with any difficulties they might have had.
In 1985, having completed her time in the Apostolic Delegation, she became involved in the pastoral care of the Czech community attached to the Jesuit Farm St. Church, London, giving invaluable support to them in their transition difficulties.
In 1987, Srs. Bibi and Helena Mulcahy were assigned for five years to Rome working with Bishop Jaroslav Skarvada of Czechoslovakia and the Czech community. Rome was preparing to receive many Czech pilgrims for the canonisation of Blessed Agnes of Bohemia, so it was a busy time for the Sisters as they had to be available to respond to the many needs of the pilgrims. The canonisation took place one week before the Velvet Revolution in Prague, which forced the regime to surrender. In the Czech tradition there was a prophecy that Czechoslovakia would be free when Blessed Agnes of Bohemia became a saint, and so it was.
In 1990, Bibi made her first visit home in 40 years – a deeply emotional experience for her and her family. She then retired to Prague to work with Bishop Skarvada and later to care for him in his final illness.
Sr. Bibi’s (Adalbert) whole life as an MMM was truly inspirational from her initial contact with Mother Mary and the Congregation right through to her death The challenges she left behind in Prague and those she faced in a new culture with different language, food and customs were huge, but she approached them all with commendable inner strength and calm. She was a true MMM although she never reached the continent of Africa and she exercised her MMM charism in each of the places to which she had been assigned. She kept up regular contact with the Motherhouse while living in Prague, especially to acknowledge the deaths of our sisters.
As her age advanced, her health deteriorated, and she was cared for by her great friend Sr. Dominica Bohusova O.P. Finally, in her 102nd year she died peacefully in the nearby hospital on 27th June 2023. In the days before the funeral, both Cardinal Duka and Bishop Zdenek Wasserbauer expressed to the MMMs their deep appreciation of Bibi. Her funeral took place on 13th July in Petrovice celebrated by the Emeritus Cardinal of Prague, Dominik Duka O.P. Among the Concelebrants was a nephew of the late Bishop Jaroslav Skarvada with whom Bibi had worked in Rome and whom she cared for in his final illness. Many family members also attended as well as three MMMs, Srs. Irene Balzan, Catherine Dwyer and Dervilla O’Donnell. The funeral was truly a celebration of the wonderful life lived by Sr. M. Adalbert (Bibi) Simakova MMM.

Sr. M. Davnet, baptised Sara Gertrude and known as Sally, was born in Derry in December 1937, but she was definitely a Donegal person at heart as her early childhood was in Culdaff on the Inishowen peninsula and she attended the local primary school in Gleneely. While attending Primary School in Gleneely, Sally saw the MMM film “Visitation”and encountered her first two MMM sisters, Magdalen O’Rourke and Margaret O’Conor, who were showing the film in the Derry Diocese. Sally decided there and then that she would become a sister and never wavered in her decision! Her secondary education was in the St. Louis Convent school in Monaghan and she entered MMM soon after her Leaving Certificate exams.

After the period of initial religious formation, Sr. Davnet made first Profession of Vows in 1959 and was sent to study Laboratory Science in Dublin. At the same time, she worked in the Laboratory of the hospital in Drogheda, gaining valuable experience in her field.
In 1968, after obtaining her Fellowship, she was assigned to Chiulo, Angola. Here she was in charge of the Laboratory and also tutor. She trained students both for Chiulo and for other Angolan hospitals. These were difficult years in Angola with a protracted civil war and its aftermath. Sr. Davnet spent thirteen years in Angola, with only a short break of a year in Drogheda in the middle of this period. When she left in 1981 she knew she would be moving to another mission.

After a short up-dating course in Tropical Medicine, Sr. Davnet was assigned to Ethiopia. She started her work in the Laboratory in Latichi Clinic in Mekele but also worked the three Field Hospitals. Again, she was involved in training of students for these laboratories. This assignment was only for a year and then she was re-assigned to Uganda in 1986, which became her home for the next nearly twenty years. She enjoyed her laboratory work, the training of students. She was asked to develop the laboratory and to set up HIV testing in a country where AIDS was widespread. Realising the importance of uncontaminated blood, she set up a regional blood bank and later the Ugandan Government started a national service which Davnet was invited to be part of. This was a successful enterprise, resulting in the saving of millions of lives annually. When the hospital was handed over, she stayed on in the Kitovu compound until her final return to Ireland in 2005.

Sr. Davnet was a highly organised woman, faithful in her MMM life and an expert in her professional field. One of her special gifts was the training of personnel in this vital area. She imbued them with knowledge, expertise, and the capacity to faithfully follow the path they had chosen. This was apparent in Chiulo, Tigray, Kitovu and Rwanda, where she rehabilitated some laboratories at the request of the Refugee Trust. She has left a tremendous legacy which was acknowledged by the Institute of Bio-medical Science of London when they presented her with a medal for 50 years of membership and service.

In 2006 Sr. Davnet had the opportunity to visit her “first love”. She went to Angola for a six-month period to help set up a laboratory there. Back in Drogheda she settled well into life in the Motherhouse. She became Librarian and helped with reception and phone duties. As her health declined, it was realised she needed more care and she transferred to Aras Mhuire Nursing home in August 2020 where she received wonderful care from the Staff and Sisters. She died peacefully in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital on June 15th, 2023. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Drogheda.


Sr. Cecily was born in Zambia (previously Northern Rhodesia) and brought up in
Zimbabwe (previously Southern Rhodesia). Her father, Victor Bourdillon, worked for the British Civil Service in Northern Rhodesia where he met her mother who went to Northern Rhodesia from England as a missionary doctor. She was the eldest in the family of two girls and six boys. When she was young, the family moved to Zimbabwe and Cecily was educated in Salisbury (now Harare). Bourdillon is a French name, but their branch of the family had lived in England since the early part of the 18th Century.

Influenced by St. Therese of Lisieux, Cecily wanted to be a religious and a missionary and do medical work in the footsteps of her mother. Her father had met Mother Mary Martin when searching for sisters to do medical work in N. Rhodesia around 1939. Having only just founded the Congregation, there were as yet no sisters to send. However, Mother Mary obviously impressed Victor Bourdillon for he had no hesitation in suggesting the Medical Missionaries of Mary to Cecily. He communicated with Mother Mary, and she broke a trip to South Africa to visit the family in Zimbabwe. Mother Mary invited Cecily to come to Drogheda when she finished secondary school. Sr. Cecily arrived in Ireland in 1960 and began the MMM journey.

She studied medicine at University College Dublin in 1961 and graduated in 1967. The MMM students lived together in Rosemount, Booterstown, and cycled to college each day. In 1969 she was asked to go to Nigeria to relieve a sister doctor, for 6 months but that turned into 20 years!

Sr. Cecily worked in hospitals – Eleta in Ibadan, St. Luke’s in Anua, St.Joseph’s in Ekot Ene, Mile Four in Abakalilki, Monaya in Ogoja – and Zungeru health centre in Minna Diocese. At Mile Four and Monaya, she supervised the Leprosy and TB programme and did the three-month course in Leprosy and TB control in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, she worked for three months in one of the refugee camps for people devastated by the famine in 1985.
In 1990, she was asked to go to Chiulo Hospital in Angola. The civil war was coming to an end and people voted for their leaders for the first time. She cared for the children and the Leprosy and TB patients.

From 2001 to 2020 she worked in Malawi – first, in Chipini Health Centre and then in Kasina Health Centre. The HIV/AIDS pandemic was rearing its head and the Sisters gradually developed a good programme of testing, care, and treatment within the Malawi National HIV/AIDS Programme. Before treatment was available, they began a Home-Based Care Programme to provide care for the many dying patients which developed into the Home Based Palliative Care programme run by nurses trained in Palliative Care.

Sr. Cecily returned to Ireland in 2020 and was an active member of the Beechgrove community. She had a gift for music and played the piano and the organ in the chapel for the Sisters. She loved to crochet and enjoyed swimming. Her last illness began in 2022 and she was aware of her own serious condition.

Once she summed up her attitude to life as:
“I am filled with gratitude for my life. In being an MMM my life’s dreams to dedicate my life to God and to serve the sick poor were fulfilled. In ministering among the poor, I have learned much about suffering, courage, endurance and generosity from them. It has been a humbling experience to care for the sick and dying and I feel greatly privileged and blessed to have been able to accompany them and alleviate their pain and suffering in some small way.”

Sr. Cecily died peacefully on 8th June 2023, and her wish to donate her body for medical research was honoured.