Meet the Sisters – Sr. Ruth Percival, MMM

Meet the Sisters – Sr. Ruth Percival, MMM

Ruth comes from Derby, England – “the home of Rolls Royce and Royal Crown Derby China, from a county famed for its hills and dales”, as Ruth says rather mischievously.  Ruth has a great sense of humour and can tell the tallest stories with a straight face, but this is her true story!

Ruth was born into a small, close-knit family.  She had only one sister, Rosy, four years younger, but as a child still had all four grandparents nearby.  Her family life centred around the Church. Her parents were individually members of the Knights of St Columba and the Catholic Women’s League.

One very important part of her family life was the experience of welcoming strangers. For example, in the late 1950s the first Nigerian men came to Derby to study on the Railway. They were Catholics, came to their church; they were the first black people they had ever seen. Ruth’s parents invited them home and from then on they became friends up to her father’s death many years later.

At eighteen, Ruth discovered MMM by reading an old magazine dated twenty years earlier.  She had been clearing out the attic and became so engrossed in what she was reading she sat down on the stairs to read, knowing instinctively she had found her life’s work.  She had always wanted to be a nurse.

In MMM, Ruth trained as a nurse and midwife and then soon travelled to Tanzania where she spent over twenty years, both in hospital nursing and training a health team among the Maasai people.

After leaving Tanzania, Ruth had a short period of renewal and helped with Mission Awareness in the USA.  This prepared her for her future work in England from 2001 onwards.  As well as spreading news about MMM in England, she was also active working with asylum seekers and refugees and started a new inter-church venture called The Solihull Welcome.

After our last house in England closed in 2021, Sr. Ruth came to live in Drogheda. As a passionate enthusiast of the care of the environment, she enjoys the garden and has created our own wildflower garden. Lobbying politicians on environmental issues is another hobby!

“One thing life has taught me”, says Sr. Ruth, “is that God has continuously blessed me with people to help me in all the difficult moments. They are not necessarily the ones I would have expected or hoped to help me.”