Congregational Register No. 475
D.O.B. 28 11 1935
First Profession 03 10 1961
Died: 31.12.2001 Aged: 66 years
Born in Limerick, Veronica (Vera) Fitzgerald was one of eight children. After leaving school, she worked for a short time as a draper’s assistant in a local Limerick store before joining MMM, aged 22. After initial formation in Clonmel and Drogheda, she went on to study medicine in University College Dublin, graduating in 1966. She returned to Drogheda and worked in the hospital in surgery, paediatrics and obstetrics until 1969. Sr. Vera, known at this time as Sr. M. Flannan, then went to Portugal for language study and from there to Angola. She served mostly in Chiulo Hospital and for long periods worked with only one other doctor.
In 1973 Sr. Vera returned to Ireland, planning some updating. She worked for a few months in Navan Orthopaedic Hospital, but the planned course in tropical medicine was not to happen at this time. An emergency in Masaka Hospital in Uganda arose and Sr. Vera promptly responded. Her assignment to Uganda was to last seven years.
In 1980, Sr. Vera returned to Angola and continued there until a few months before her death. For most of this time she worked in Chiulo Hospital. In 1996 she retired as medical officer in charge and went north to Lubango, where she worked with five Ministry of Health clinics peripheral to Lubango and established a mobile AIDS programme. During these later years, although diagnosed and treated for cancer, Sr. Vera insisted on returning to Angola, working until she was physically unable to cope.
Known as a shy, gentle person, she had an impish sense of humour and was also noted for her loyalty and faithfulness.
Sr. Vera returned to Ireland in September 2001. In spite of treatment her condition deteriorated rapidly. She died in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and is buried in the local MMM plot.