Congregational Register No: 601
First Profession: 27.04.1964
Died: 26.03.2006 Aged: 76 years
Louisa Ritchie was born in Beauly, Inverness, Scotland, into a family of five girls and three boys. Following her mother’s early death, Louisa’s sister, Margaret, took over the job of caring for her siblings and their father.
After completing her schooling, Louisa took a secretarial course and worked for an insurance company. One day she spoke to Margaret about her desire to become a nurse and together they went and discussed this possible career change with their father. He gave his blessing, and in 1948, Louisa commenced her training at the Royal Northern Infirmary in Inverness where, after doing her midwifery in Glasgow, she became a theatre sister. In 1960, Louisa talked to Margaret about her growing conviction that she had a religious vocation. Margaret and the family gave Louisa their full support as she discerned her way forward, and Louisa entered MMM in September 1960, aged thirty.
Following first profession, Louisa worked in the IMTH for two years before being assigned to Tanzania in 1966. A year later she was assigned to Uganda and after several years there she went to Kenya. She had a great love and empathy for those who were sick so it was not too surprising that in 1978 MMM asked Louisa to train in clinical pastoral care (CPE). It was a leap of faith for Louisa as she journeyed to the USA to begin the long and, at times, arduous road to becoming a CPE supervisor.
Louisa was influential in developing CPE in Ireland. She helped to establish national standards, formation, and education for ministry with her colleagues in the Irish Hospital Chaplaincy Association. Louisa brought great competence and professionalism to her role as director of clinical pastoral education. When she retired from the Mater Hospital in Dublin in 2001, she was assigned to Bettystown, where she warmly welcomed visiting Sisters and became involved in the parish and a local prayer group.
Louisa had a great gift for making and keeping friends and was a deeply pastoral and caring person. She enjoyed socialising and loved bird watching, attributing her knowledge of birds to her brother Sandy’s teaching.
Louisa bore her final illness bravely. After some weeks she faced the news that her condition had deteriorated. With much prayer and deliberation she decided to discontinue treatment. She returned to Áras Mhuire, her last weeks made more comfortable by the palliative care team. Louisa was very grateful for all the love and care she received at Áras Mhuire. Her sister Margaret came over from Scotland to be with her. Other members of her family also visited before she died peacefully on Laetare Sunday.