Sister Patricia (Laurence) was born in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath in 1933. She received her early education in Longford and joined the Medical Missionaries of Mary in 1951. This was just a year before the novitiate was destroyed by fire. As a novice she looked after Mother Mary Martin and learned very much from that experience.
‘Patsy’ did her general nursing training in Drogheda and was one of the first group to graduate from the nurses’ training school there. Previous groups had had to do their training in Dublin.
She spent several years in Drogheda as a staff nurse. After her midwifery training she was assigned to Nigeria.
After a short time, ill heath made it necessary for her to return home. Sister Patricia completed children’s nursing in Liverpool and was in charge of the paediatric unit in the International Missionary Training Hospital in Drogheda for four years.
Returning to Nigeria in 1967, she served in Use Abat and then in Ogoja during the war. She then went to Ibadan. She spent three years in Ondo, where she was involved in setting up the MMM hospital. In 1974 she went to Odo Irele, where for eight years she promoted a primary health care programme. In 1982 she was assigned to Mafoluku and set up a health project there. She did the same in Amukoko, where she worked from 1984 to 1997.
After some renewal, Patsy went to Kenya in 1998, working in a community-based healthcare programme in Aror for a year. In 1999 she set up a project in Eldoret for people affected by HIV/AIDS and orphans and vulnerable children.
Patsy was a small woman who had great energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. She had a passion for helping the poor and needy and had a gift for making friends with many kinds of people.
She returned to Ireland in 2010. She helped with the stamps ministry and also assisted older Sisters. She transferred to Áras Mhuire in October 2012 and died on 8 November after a short illness.