Agnes Manifold was born in Dublin in January 1931. Her early education was in Dublin and after secondary school she studied secretarial skills in a further education college. She worked in Dublin for a few years and then joined MMM in 1962.
After her initial religious formation, Sr. Agnes had a lot of varied experiences, helping MMM in Ireland when it was in its phase of expansion. She helped with the Dublin Sale of work, in the office in the Maternity Hospital in Drogheda and even did a spell in the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin.
During this time, Mother Mary realised the great need for Sisters to fly small planes in Africa. They carried medical supplies, ferried patients to hospital, and doctors to remote clinics. Some Sisters were already trained, and Sr. Agnes was called upon to be one of that small band of women pilots. She trained at Dublin airport and received her pilot’s license in 1971. Sr. Agnes was a very versatile person, able to adapt to situations where needs arose and always ready to say ‘yes’.
In 1972 she went to Uganda for a short period and then on to Kenya where she used her flying skills in the Turkana Desert. But this was a brief period in her life, as she was called home to Ireland to do Mission Awareness work in various dioceses for three years – 1975 to 1978.
On her return to Kenya, Agnes trained in clinical pastoral care and worked in Lokitaung, Eldoret and Kitale. She finally left Kenya in 1990. In Ireland she had a brief assignment to Kilmacow where MMM ran a Nursing Home and Agnes helped out in both pastoral care and as the bursar and then, in 1992, Agnes made another major cultural change. This time it was to Nigeria where she used her secretarial skills and also worked as a pastoral minister in Benin City and Ibadan for four years.
Agnes returned to Ireland from Nigeria in 1997 and for the next few years worked as a bursar and in pastoral ministry in several of our houses, Mell, Kilmacow and Artane. During this period, she had the chance to return again to Kenya for one year, helping out in the Kitale community and working with women’s groups in the parish to promote income generating projects.
Sr. Agnes finally came to the Motherhouse community in 2017 when her health needed more attention. She was an active member in community and enjoyed visitors and family visits. She was a lively and entertaining member of community, full of energy and in her young days, was a gifted Irish dancer. She was the life and soul of any group of any age.
As her health began to deteriorate, she finally moved to Aras Mhuire in 2019 for extra care and she died peacefully on Sunday, 27th August 2023. She is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery, Drogheda.