Sr. Edel was born in Walshestown, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath in 1932. She attended a local primary school and completed her secondary education at the Dominican Convent, Muckross Park, Dublin. She was a Montessori teacher at Muckross Park and Sion Hill for a year. A friend joined the Medical Missionaries of Mary and in 1951, Edel decided she would do the same.
She trained as a nurse in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin and in Drogheda, and then completed midwifery training. In 1961 Sr. Edel was assigned to Malawi and was one of the three founding members of the first MMM mission in that country. She served in St. John’s Hospital in Mzuzu for fifteen years. During that time she completed training as a clinical instructor in England. Edel had a deep commitment to her healing ministry, both in the hospital and the community. She loved nursing and was particularly concerned for the needy and marginalized, supporting and befriending them. Unfortunately she was deported from Malawi in 1976, after receiving a letter from a Malawian friend who criticized the government. This was a huge blow for Edel but she continued to support the MMMs who worked there by awareness-raising and fund-raising. She was still in contact with many people in Ireland that she met through this ministry when she died.
Unable to return to Malawi, she completed a theology course in Maynooth and helped with mission awareness in the USA. She was then assistant matron in the IMTH for ten years. She had great organizational ability was greatly loved by the staff. After doing relief work in Kilmacow, she served in MMM leadership in the Motherhouse for eight years.
When a new president was elected in Malawi Edel was able to go back in 1996. She worked for four more years in Mzuzu, this time in women’s development programmes.
Sr. Edel returned to Ireland in 2001. From 2003 she assisted with MMM leadership in the Motherhouse. She gave particular care to the Sisters coping with difficult illnesses. She was active until some days prior to her admission to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda In November 2016. Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was transferred to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. She died there peacefully on 18 November 2016. Her death came as a great shock to the Sisters and her family and friends.
Sr. Edel’s strength throughout her life was her great faith and trust in God.