Nolan, Sr. Margaret Mary

Nolan, Sr. Margaret Mary

Nationality: Irish
Congregational Register No: 23
D.O.B. 11.11.1896
First Profession: 08.09.1942
Died: 16.02.1984 Aged: 87 years

Sr. Margaret Mary, originally from Co. Kildare, but living in Dublin at the time of her entrance, was a highly qualified surgeon, obstetrician and gynaecologist when she entered at Rosemount on 16 July 1939.

Because her mother was a widow and an invalid and Margaret Mary was her only child, it was arranged that Mrs. Nolan would live in Rosemount. There she truly shared life with the young MMM aspirants, one room being designated as ‘Mrs. Nolan’s dormitory’.

Before entering, Margaret Mary worked in India. After profession, Nigeria became her main field of ministry, but she also spent some years in east Africa, in Chala and later in Makiungu. In 1960, she went to the USA on promotion work and gave a lecture tour. In Nigeria, in Anua and later in Ikot Ene, Minna and Eleta, she became an almost legendary figure. The people had such faith in her, that when Pope Pius XII died they cried, “Why didn’t they send for Sister Doctor?”

In 1954, HM Queen Elizabeth II awarded her the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her work for the Nigerian people. In 1965 the government of Nigeria decorated her with the Order of the Niger. From 1961 to 1964 she was medical secretary at the Catholic Secretariat at Lagos.

There are so many stories that could be told of her. Suffice it to say that while she was a top professional in the hospital, there were also few better in community.

It was said that she was the first woman in Britain to qualify as both a FRCOG and FRCS. She had a degree in music and was a linguist. Her favourite spiritual reading was Dom Columba Marmion’s books in French.

Sr. Margaret Mary returned to Ireland in 1977 and died in Drogheda in 1984.

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