Duignan, Sr. M. Renee

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.

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