Sister Maria Anne Travers was born Anastasia Travers in Arnestown, New Ross, Co. Wexford on 25 October 1927. She had her early education in New Ross and joined MMM in 1946. After profession in 1949, she trained as a nurse. At that time Drogheda did not have complete nurse training facilities and was affiliated to some of the Dublin hospitals. Maria Anne trained in both the IMTH (now Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital) and the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin. She then completed midwifery training in Drogheda.
In 1955 Maria Anne was assigned to Naples, Italy. She served for eleven years in the Clinica Mediterranea, a busy, general hospital staffed by MMM. In 1966, she travelled to her next mission in Leon, Spain, where for nine years she was ward sister and matron and also served in MMM leadership. These two postings involved learning Italian and Spanish, which Maria Anne seemed to master quite easily.
Her next assignment was to Malawi at the end of 1976. She was ward sister and assistant matron in Saint John’s Hospital, another busy facility in Mzuzu. Back in Ireland in early 1980, Sister Maria Anne worked in the infirmary in Drogheda and in the house of studies in Rosemount before her next overseas assignment to Nigeria in 1982. In Ondo Catholic Hospital she was senior nursing sister, was in charge of the pharmacy and again served in local MMM leadership.
Sister Maria Anne returned to Ireland in 1988 and worked in the nunciature in Dublin until 1996, when she moved to the Motherhouse. She helped in the refectory, guest department and on the switchboard. She gave a great welcome to the many visitors and always had time to spend with them. Maria Anne was a very able person, gifted in many ways, and she was generous in sharing her talents. She was artistic and especially enjoyed calligraphy. She made beautiful cards and notices for all occasions.
Her health began to deteriorate gradually and in January 2020 she transferred to Áras Mhuire Nursing Facility, where she was cared for with great love and compassion by our wonderful staff.
On 9 July 2020 Maria Anne became unwell after her lunch and said that she was about to die. Thirty minutes later she peacefully slipped away in the presence of Nursing Director Anne Nicholls, Nurse Vlademira and Sisters Gabriel Ashe, and Rita Higgins.
Her funeral took place in Our Lady of Lourdes Church and a guard of honour of Sisters and staff lined the avenue to the church. The COVID-19 restrictions allowed fifty people to attend the Mass, so her sister Kathleen, other family members, friends from the parish and some MMMs were present. The ceremony was also live streamed so many others were able to attend virtually. Father Tom Hogan, CSsR, was the celebrant and the music was provided by Sisters Christine Lawler and Rita Higgins.
While MMMs and staff were all stunned at the suddenness of Maria Anne’s death we are happy that she is now united with the Lord whom she served so well throughout her long life.