USA

In this section of our website, you will find a short entry about the life of each of our Sisters who has been called by God to embark on her eternal life. No doubt you will find inspiration in reading how each one responded to her calling while on earth. We pray to them to help us on our journey.

If you knew one or more of these Sisters personally, or are connected through family ties, or simply like what you read, please contact us and tell us what you would like to add to that entry.

"The death of those can never leave us free from grief whose friendship during life was a solace and delight." Saint Augustine, City of God.

When Loved Ones Leave Us...

Sr. M. Damien DriscollNationality: Irish
Congregational Register No: 520
D.O.B. 25.01.1931
First Profession: 03.04.1954
Died: 19.08.1977 Aged: 46 years

Sr. Damien, baptized Margaret Mary, was a native of Durrus, Co.Cork, and emigrated to the USA. She entered MMM in Boston, MA, on 8 September 1951, and was in the first group of novices in the USA, the first postulant having gone to Ireland for her novitiate.

Nationality: Irish
Congregational Register No: 120
D.O.B.  12.05.1924
First Profession: 06.01.1947
Died: 30.04.2008 Aged: 83 years

Catherine Angela Durnin came from a large farming family in Lawlesstown, Dunleer, Co. Meath. She had five brothers and three sisters.  The young Catherine Angela contributed to the household income with her dressmaking skills after she left St. Brigid's National School, Dunleer. 


Sister Gabriel was born and grew up in Drumgriston, Co. Monaghan.  She went to school in Billeady and later at the Mercy Convent, Castleblaney.  She entered MMM in March l942, when the Congregation was only five years old.  Those were also the war years and life was not easy.  Following her initial formation and first Profession of Vows, Gabriel trained in midwifery in Drogheda.  She was then assigned to St. Luke's Hospital, Anua, Nigeria.  Having served for eight years there she was brought back to Drogheda to do her general nursing training.

Sister Jean was born Elaine Eason in Buffalo, New York, USA in 1941. She attended school in Gardenville and Buffalo, New York, graduating from Mount Mercy Academy High School.  Throughout her time in MMM she remained in contact with several Sisters of Mercy who taught her.

 She met the Medical Missionaries of Mary while at school and joined in 1959. She chose the name Jean Clare at her Reception, a sign of her love for her parents.

Sr. M. de Sales DuignanNationality: Irish
Congregational Register No: 88
D.O.B. 12.05.1921
First Profession: 08.09.1945
Died: 19.09.1949 Aged: 26 years

Mary Ellen (May) Duignan came from Arva, Co. Cavan and entered MMM on 7 December 1942.

Following profession, she trained as a midwife. During her time at the maternity hospital, she became Matron Phelan's "right hand", and Matron succeeded in delaying her assignment overseas. Eventually, however, she was assigned to Nigeria, where she worked at the Mater Hospital, Afikpo. Unfortunately, her time there was all too short. One day, on the way to a bush clinic with the hospital team, the car in which the team were travelling overturned on the pontoon and Sr. M. de Sales was among those who were thrown in the water. She drowned. After her body was recovered, she was laid to rest at Afikpo.

sr agnes_essien_02

Sr. Agnes Maria, born in Anua, Uyo, Nigeria, could be described as a pioneer. She qualified as a teacher, but having been inspired by Mother Mary Martin, whom she had met in Nigeria, she came to Ireland in 1953 with Veronica Akpan, who became the first MMM from Africa.

sr mary_dunneSister Mary Dunne (1941-2011)

Mary was the youngest child and only daughter of Kathleen and Patrick Dunne. She grew up in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, and trained as a nurse in Kent, and then studied midwifery in Scotland. Having worked as a staff nurse for some time, she volunteered for a nursing post in Zambia. From there she took a holiday with another volunteer, travelling through Tanzania and stopping off at Makiungu Hospital. There she met MMM for the first time, and discovered a life-long journey had begun.

She joined MMM in 1969 and after her religious formation was assigned to Kenya. Her first mission was in the far north of the Turkana Desert, where she was Nursing Officer in charge of the government Health Centre at Lokitaung. It was remote, isolated, depending on the small plane of the Flying Doctors' Service for supplies and support. The catchment area of the Health Centre was the size of Ulster.

Despite the harsh climate, famine, isolation and the insecurity around the nearby borders with Sudan and Ethiopia, she experienced a great sense of satisfaction in being part of the development of a people, a country and a church. Many lasting friendships were formed with other volunteers and missionaries from various countries.

Mary's love of sport embraced rugby, soccer and tennis, which she followed on short-wave radio. She loved music, especially the cello, and read widely using the mobile missionary library available throughout Kenya.

During sabbatical leave she specialised in oncology nursing. When she returned to Kenya she was assigned to Kitale, where she saw the huge needs of people with HIV/AIDS and the plight of children who had lost their parents to AIDS. She initiated and developed a comprehensive program to respond to this great need, and devoted the next fourteen years of her life to this work. With a well trained team, she provided services to thousands of people, giving hope and comfort in a desperate situation.

When she returned to Ireland in 2006, she realised she was beginning a new journey on life's way. A diagnosis of cancer came, on top of the hearing difficulties she had been experiencing for some time. She faced her fears with the same courage, stubbornness and good humour that she had brought to all of life's challenges. She spoke to her friends of ways of 'befriending' her illness. Her deep faith and serenity were an inspiration to all who supported and cared for her. A gifted planner all her life, a few weeks before death came, she prepared the inspiring liturgy at which we would say our earthly goodbye. Despite much pain, her serenity remained steadfast until God's final call came in the early hours of November 23, 2011. May she rest in peace.

sr_m_michael_farrell

Nationality:   Irish
Congregational Register No. 49
D.O.B.:  18.05.1921
First Profession 08.09.1943
Died: 02.01.2009   Aged:  87 years

Rose Teresa Farrell was born in Lackagh, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan.  She had two brothers and one sister.  Shortly after completing her education in Castleblaney, she entered MMM at age nineteen, taking the name Sr. Mary Michael.

Mary was born in Birr, Co. Offaly in 1941. She was the youngest child and only girl of six children. She grew up in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal and trained as a nurse in Joyce Green Hospital in Kent. She then did midwifery in Lennox Castle Maternity Hospital in Scotland.   After working as a staff nurse in Ireland for three years, she volunteered for a nursing post in Zambia. One of her friends in Zambia was a niece of Sr. Anne Bennett, MMM. With her friend, Mary travelled by train through Tanzania and stopped off to visit Sr. Anne at Makiungu Hospital, meeting the Medical Missionaries of Mary for the first time.

Nationality: Irish
Congregational Register No: 286
D.O.B. 26.12.1922
First Profession: 08.09.1953
Died: 28.03.2006 Aged: 83 years

Brigid Farrell was born in Streamstown, Co. Longford to a farming family. She was one of six children - five girls and one boy.  Brigid entered MMM at the age of 28 years, having previously worked as a housekeeper to a lady in Dublin, and took the name Sr. Mary Sarto.

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