Let me introduce you to a sprightly eighty-year-old. She is Sr. Breeda Ryan from Thurles, Co. Tipperary in Ireland. Breeda comes from a large family of ten children. She only had two brothers and the rest were girls. Breeda herself is truly in the middle of the family being the fifth child.
Those who know Breeda will tell you how easy she is to live with in community. She is even tempered, never sulky or cross. Throughout her life she has gained many skills – far beyond her initial training and has constantly put these skills forward for the benefit of the community and the people wherever she lived. Breeda is an out-going person and people find her easy to talk to. She is a good listener.
Breeda was educated close to home and then worked for some years in the business of a family friend. But during these years she was also discerning about a vocation to religious life. The only Sisters she knew were teachers and Breeda didn’t want to become a teacher. By chance she came across an MMM flyer in the local church and saw that MMM could use “all gifts and talents” and she felt welcomed. After seeking advice, she decided to enter.
After her initial religious formation, Breeda had ideas of being trained as a nurse. But Mother Mary had other ideas! She mentioned the need for someone trained in Catering for our hospitals. So Breeda did Institutional Management in a Dublin Technical College (Cathal Brugha Street) and then went to work in our hospital in Drogheda for four years.
In 1975, Breeda was assigned to Tanzania. Her skills in administration were obvious. For the next twenty-two years she worked in Hospital administration in some of our busiest hospitals at the time – Kabanga, and Makiungu. One of the many challenges was looking for funds to undertake the work and all the paperwork and project writing this involved!
In 1998, Breeda’s skills at administration were stretched yet again. She was asked to return to Ireland and take over the financial administration of the whole Congregation. She stayed in this role for the next twenty years, “retiring” finally to the Motherhouse in Beechgrove when she was 76 years age. Is Breeda retired? Of course not! She is now in charge of our Philately Department, which still raises funds for our overseas work. So, if you have used stamps looking for a home, send them to Breeda, and you will receive a lovely “thank you”.
Breeda says “I enjoyed all my various assignments in different ways. But Makiungu Hospital in Tanzania was special. The people were so friendly and helpful. We worked well together as a Team in the hospital which was great, and we had a good MMM community with five different nationalities. We received wonderful support from the Singida Diocese.” “Life is about seeing and seeking God in all things, and being grateful for the gift of Faith”, she reflects.