Sr. Agnes Maria, born in Anua, Uyo, Nigeria, could be described as a pioneer. She qualified as a teacher, but having been inspired by Mother Mary Martin, whom she had met in Nigeria, she came to Ireland in 1953 with Veronica Akpan, who became the first MMM from Africa.
Meanwhile Agnes Maria trained as a nurse-midwife before entering MMM in 1960. Because she was the only African in her class, this waiting time required courage and perseverance. She was assigned to Afikpo, Nigeria, where she spent three years as ward sister. She also worked for two years in Urua Akpan and for two years as acting matron in Anua.
Sr. Agnes went to Belfast in 1970 to become a state registered children’s nurse and obtained her state registration in nursing and midwifery. She returned to Nigeria and was matron in Anua for seven years.
In 1982 she completed a Diploma in Professional Studies in Nursing Administration and then turned her talents to primary health care for twelve years. After five more years in Anua, at the age of 70 Sr. Agnes went to Abakaliki, where she worked part time in antenatal care and children’s outpatients. She then had to retire from hospital work because of failing health. Even then she remained involved in income-generating activities and had a poultry farm and vegetable and flower gardens.
She is remembered fondly as one of our first MMMs from Nigeria. She died at Abakaliki, Nigeria on 8 October 2011.