Breslin, Sr. Breege

Breslin, Sr. Breege

Sr. Breege Breslin, baptised Brigid, was born in Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland on May 3rd, 1931. She was the seventh child in a family of twelve children, six boys and six girls. All her brothers and sisters pre-deceased her with the exception if one brother, Joe.

Brigid was educated locally in Ballina, first in the local National School and then in the Mercy Convent School for secondary level education. When she was eighteen, she moved to Dublin and found employment in the General Post Office. She had two brothers also working in Dublin at that time, so she had family nearby. She enjoyed life in the city and was a sociable, out-going person, but the idea of a religious vocation was at the back of her mind.
Brigid joined MMM in March 1955. By this stage her older sister, Mary (Sr. Gemma), was already in MMM but Breege always insisted, “Gemma being in MMM had nothing to do with my joining the Congregation”.

After her initial formation period, Sr. Breege trained as a nurse in Drogheda. For some years she continued on in the Hospital in the operating theatre. Here she used her wisdom and gentleness in passing on her skills to other young people in training. In 1966 she did her midwifery training and in January 1968 she went to Kenya, to Kakuma hospital in Turkana. This was the beginning of her long-term commitment to the people of Kenya. Apart from home leave and short breaks for spiritual renewal, she spent the next thirty-eight years in Kenya. She and Sr. Patrice O’Leary set up the medical services in Turkana, much to the amazement and appreciation of the Regional Medical Officer and Regional matron, who were used to the fact that Turkana was considered to be a punishment area.

In 1994, Sr. Breege moved to Nairobi and worked in two slum areas, Mukuru and Kibera. At this time HIV/AIDS was prevalent, and she helped set up voluntary testing and counselling services as well as treatment services when they became available. During all of her time in Kenya, she worked hard, radiated joy and laughter among her patients and co-workers, and was tireless in her efforts to help people. She was an out-going person and had a great capacity for making friends.

Sr. Breege returned to Ireland in 2006 for medical reasons and became part of the Motherhouse community in Drogheda. She finally moved to Aras Mhuire Nursing Home in December 2016. Her death was peaceful on Saturday, 12th February 2022, and she is buried, with her sister Gemma, in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Drogheda.

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