Scanlon, Sr. Attracta

Scanlon, Sr. Attracta

Sister Attracta was born Bridget Scanlon in Gurteen, Co. Sligo, in 1919. She had a twin brother, John, who died a few years before her. Attracta joined the Medical Missionaries of Mary in 1940. After profession she trained as a midwife. She worked in the maternity hospital in Drogheda until 1952, when she was assigned to the Clinica Mediterranea in Naples, Italy. For twenty-five happy years she was sister-in-charge of the labour ward and maternity floor and delivered thousands of babies. She was an excellent midwife, had high standards and ensured they were maintained by the staff. Someone who knew her said that very often the consultant gynaecologist would send for Attracta when there was a difficult case. Her warm and cheerful disposition endeared her to all.

After a short break, in early 1979 Attracta was assigned to Kenya. She served for seventeen years in Kipsaraman, a rural mountainous area, as part of an integrated health project. Her work included teaching the care of mother and child and training traditional birth attendants. She walked many miles over rough terrain to attend women in need of care.  She saved the lives of many, giving them love, respect and renewed hope.  

In 1997 she moved to the MMM house in Kitale, where for three years she provided hospitality to the many visitors. She also helped in the local parish. When she was leaving, Bishop Crowley, SMA, gave a party for her in his house, and all the missionaries in the area were present.  

Sister Attracta returned to Ireland In 2000, at the age of 80, and continued to be active with duties in the Motherhouse in Drogheda. Her health began to deteriorate in 2010 and she moved to the nursing facility in Áras Mhuire for additional care. She was happy wherever she was, knowing that she had committed her life to God; that was all that mattered.  All who knew Attracta speak of the love and joy in her life, her smile and happy disposition. She loved to have visitors, welcoming all and interested in their news. She was very close to all the family, especially John. Teresa, the only surviving member, was very good to her and visited her often, sitting by her bedside for many hours during her final illness.

Just a few days before she went to God, Attracta told one of the Sisters that she was dying and had no fear.  She was at peace knowing she was in God’s hands. She died in Áras Mhuire on 24 May 2015.