Following my Leaving Certificate, I went as an auxiliary nurse to St Mary’s Hospital, Baldoyle, while I was waiting to secure a place in a teaching nursing hospital. It was here that I met my first Sister of Charity, Sr. Margaret Bernadette, who was my mentor during my time there. The nursing auxiliary experience opened me to a variety of physical disabilities in children. This was a great shock to me and influenced me in my decision to continue my nursing career and to become a religious sister.
I then commenced my paediatric nurse training in Temple St. Children’s Hospital. It was here that I came into contact with a group of the Sisters of Charity, from whom I learned to respect all who came to the hospital for care and healing. I later joined the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity where I continued my career as a nurse alongside the living of my religious life.
My first mission experience was four years in Zambia. It was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. Mission work was appreciated and I was able to use my expertise to bring health care to the most needy. It also gave me a great social life experience, where the sisters lived and worked in close contact with the people. The bond that exists among those of us who were there at that time, still links us together.
My life as a sister has been both fulfilling and challenging, and I thank God for all that I have experienced.
My second mission experience was in Nigeria, and this was one of the most difficult experiences. It left me quite drained spiritually and physically. Again, this was a four year stint and I completed my contract. Returning to Ireland this time was a blessing, as my mother was very ill and I was able to be with her, and share great love and caring together with family until her death seven months later.
During this time, I was appointed as principal tutor in St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin. This proved a wonderful challenging experience and I thank God for the great team of colleagues who supported me up until the profession was incorporated into University. This move challenged me to make further choices, and I decided to study Theology and Clinical Pastoral Education, which led me into the field of Pastoral Care.
My life as a sister has been both fulfilling and challenging, and I thank God for all that I have experienced. It has not been without its spiritual pain which is part of all life experiences. I feel I have been able to give life to many people through my ministry and presence, always relying on a greater power working within me and within the communities in which I shared and lived.