Congregational Register No. 328
First Profession 08.09.1955
Died: 17.02.2003 Aged: 82 years
Catherine Jennings came from Lancashire in the north of England. She was the second of three daughters. Following her education, she worked for some years as a clerk typist before starting nurse training when she was twenty-one. Once qualified, she worked as a staff nurse and later as a district nurse in Lancashire.
After she saw the film Visitation, Catherine wrote to Mother Mary asking how a lay person could help the missionary effort. Thus began the contact that was to eventually lead to Catherine’s acceptance as a postulant in 1952.
After her spiritual year as a novice, Catherine, now Sr. Magdalena, studied for her midwifery exams in Drogheda, and following profession stayed on as a staff midwife. In 1957 she was asked to go back to England and study for her midwifery teachers diploma. Once that was successfully completed, she returned to Drogheda to help with midwifery training. Almost all of Sr. Magdalena’s life was spent in Drogheda training midwifery students. She began this ministry in 1958 and worked in the hospital up to 1986, when she reached the mandatory retirement age. She had one brief spell in Nigeria in 1962 but had to return to Ireland for health reasons and never had the opportunity to return.
Sr. Magdalena’s students found her strict but gentle and lady-like. She was very fair and had a great personal interest in each student. During her years in Drogheda she developed many close friends and had a wide range of interests. She helped found and develop a prayer group in Drogheda.
After her official retirement, Sr. Magdalena became clinic sister for the increasing number of sick and elderly sisters in the Motherhouse. She frequently accompanied sisters to outside clinics as she was an excellent driver. In fact, Sr. Magdalena had many talents that were put to use for the benefit of the whole community. In 1996 she discontinued her work as clinic sister but continued with many other household duties such as the telephone switchboard.
Her final illness was not prolonged. She moved to Áras Mhuire in January 2003 due to increased frailty and died there peacefully on 17 February. She is buried in Drogheda.