Saturday 24 March 2018

Sr Maureen was pioneer of MMM

Hubert Murphy

Warm tributes have been paid to a real pioneer of the Medical Missionaries of Mary who was the oldest surviving member of the worldwide organisation.

Sister Maureen O'Sullivan was born in Co Limerick in 1920 and on her 19th birthday arrived in the village of Collon to join the MMMs, among the first members of the Novitiate in the early days of the growth of MMM. Indeed, she was the eighth Sister to be professed.

On completion of her novitiate formation, Sister Maureen trained as a nurse at St. Vincent's Hospital in Dublin and then returned to Drogheda to study midwifery.

Before being assigned to Africa, she spent a number of years helping at the Apostolic Nunciature in Dublin after which she served in a leadership role as a member of the General Council, working closely with the Foundress, Mother Mary Martin. In 1959, she was asked to take a nursing position at the Clinica Mediterranea in Naples, and the following year her long-time ambition to work in Africa was fulfilled. 

She spent four years in Tanzania, in the remote missions of Chala and Mpanda, and the MMM hospitals at Kabanga and nDareda. In addition to her nursing duties, she was often in demand to teach English to nurses and young women who wanted to join MMM. 

When she was transferred to Ethiopia in 1965, she worked in public health and community health, and took specialist training in the care of people with Hansen's Disease (leprosy). After sixteen years in Africa, Sister Maureen became keenly interested in natural Family Planning and travelled to Australia to study and research the Ovulation Method developed by Drs. John and Evelyn Billings. This study also took her to Nigeria the following year before returning to Ireland.

For the rest of her life she worked to promote the understanding of Family Planning and was passionate in her concern for the life of the unborn child. Sister Maureen moved to Aras Mhuire for nursing care in 2015.  Her cousin, Sister Aideen O'Sullivan, followed her into the MMM way of life.

Drogheda Independent