Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Sister Brigid

Sister Brigid, seated centre, with the nuns who came to Derry to join in her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Seated on left is Sister Bernie and on right, Sister Winifred. Standing from left are, Sister Myriam, Sister Marian, Sister Noreen, Sister Cait and Sister Anna.
Sister Brigid, seated centre, with the nuns who came to Derry to join in her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Seated on left is Sister Bernie and on right, Sister Winifred. Standing from left are, Sister Myriam, Sister Marian, Sister Noreen, Sister Cait and Sister Anna.

Seven Good Shepherd Sisters from as far away as France and New York have visited Derry to join in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Waterside based Good Shepherd Sister Brigid Mackle.

During her 60 years as a nun, Sister Brigid, a native of Lough Gall, Co, Armagh, has been based mostly in Ireland, but she also spent time in Africa as well as the congregation’s Mother House in Angers, France. During the late 1960’s while working in Limerick, Sister Brigid was Formation Directress for the Good Shepherd Sisters encouraging the spiritual and religious journey of young women who joined the congregation.

The nuns who came to Derry for Sr Brigid’s jubilee celebrations all came into contact with her as Good Shepherd postulants in Limerick.

Over the intervening years Sister Brigid has always kept in touch with these nuns and it was therefore fitting that seven of them - Sisters Bernie, Maria, Anna, Myriam, Winifred, Cait and Noreen arranged to come to Derry to join Sister Brigid on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.

Most of the nuns are based in Ireland but two of them travelled from New York and Paris to be part of the special celebration for Sister Brigid.

Fr Michael McCaughey celebrated Mass at the Good Shepherd Convent and the nuns then enjoyed a celebratory lunch.

Sister Brigid joined the Good Shepherd Sisters in October 1950 after working for some time as a teacher.

She took her first vows in 1953 and her final vows in 1956.

During her lifetime as a nun Sister Brigid spent time in both Limerick and Cork and on the missions in Ethiopa before returning to Ireland.

She was always closely involved in pastoral ministry and says she particulary enjoyed working in Rosanna House, a night shelter for homeless women in Limerick.

Sister Brigid came to Derry in the 1990s and soon became a familiar figure in the Top of the Hill area where she lived and worked as a Parish Sister.

She was closely associated with the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Trench Road where she assisted with preparations for all the liturgical services and she also trained the altar servers.

In more recent years, Sister Brigid has been living in the Good Shepherd Convent, Dungiven Road.

Nowadays, according to one of her former postulants, she spends much of her time, keeping in touch with them.

“Every birthday, feast day and at Christmas, we’re always sure to get a card from Sister Brigid.

“She makes a big effort to keep in touch with us, so that’s why we all wanted to get together to help her celebrate her Diamond Jubilee”.