My first contact with Mercy was at three and a half years when I accompanied my older brother to Scoil Mhuire Primary School, Tuam, Co Galway. My education there lasted four months as my father, a stationmaster at Tuam Railway Station, was transferred to various stations throughout Ireland. This meant that Sisters of Mercy, Irish Sisters of Charity and Ursuline Sisters educated me. At fourteen I was convinced that my future lay with the French Sisters of Charity, one of whom visited our home regularly. In my final year at the Ursuline School, Sligo, the prompting to religious life came back. I discussed this with my parents, pointing out that my preference was for an active religious congregation. They supported me fully. At this point the Holy Spirit took over. My mother had regular contact with a childhood friend, Sr. Joseph Mitchell, Mercy Tuam, and she told her of my wishes. This led to an interview with the Novice Mistress, Mother Mary Sacred Heart Conway. I entered Mercy Tuam on 8th September 1955 with five other Postulants. Happily all six of us are still enjoying religious life and a close bond exists between us.
Following First Profession, I worked in the public laundry run by the Sisters of Mercy, Tuam. This laundry provided much needed employment for women in the town. During these years, I shared the joys and sorrows of the laundry women and customers, an experience, which influenced my later ministry. Social and economic changes in the 1960s rendered the laundry obsolete. Its closure in 1969 set the seeds of a new project by the Sisters. Initially, the building served as a base for meals-on-wheels and I was asked to develop a broader base of social services from that beginning. To prepare me for this, I took the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work in University College, Cork. With the help of many Mercy Sisters and voluntary and statutory bodies, further services were developed. These include an information service on welfare rights; money advice and budgeting service; adult education classes; adult literacy; two housing projects; employment mediation; bereavement support; holidays for elderly and families in need; services for people with handicaps etc. Home and hospital visitation is a very important part of our service. In keeping with the charism of Catherine McAuley, our aim is to empower people to take control of their own lives.
In recent years I have been involved in the ministry of service and of leadership in our community of twenty-five sisters. In my spare time, I love to go swimming, set dancing and walking. I also like to travel and enjoy live music shows.
Throughout my life I have always been conscious of God’s guiding hand. The example of so many Sisters of Mercy also inspires me to “respond to human need with tenderness and compassion, with courage and perseverance” (Constitutions no.42)