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A nun who attended a boarding school in Newry as a young girl celebrated her 111th birthday last week in Alabama, USA, making her most likely the oldest living Sister in the world and certainly the oldest Sister of Mercy.

Sister Aidan Donaldson RSM was born in Dromore, Co Down on 20 August 1908.

Her mother died when she was four and It is believed she attended a boarding school in Newry, most likely the Sisters of Mercy Convent school, Canal Street/ Catherine Street, which became Our Lady's Grammar School.

Sister Mary Aidan Donaldson and Shane Stephens the Irish Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sister Aidan Donaldson and Shane Stephens, the Irish Consulate, Atlanta, Georgia on her 106th birthday.

While attending school two Sisters of Mercy from Mobile in Alabama, USA called seeking vocations and after considering it  this eventually saw her America bound at the young age of 19 to join the Sisters of Mercy community in religious life.

She chose the name of a favourite teacher from home Sister Aidan and began her teaching ministry in September 1927. As well as Mobile, Sr Aidan ministered in Baltimore, Maryland; Birmingham, Huntsville and Bessemer, Alabama; Pensacola, Florida. In her later years she served in varied roles in St. Ignatius Parish, Mobile as pastoral minister, co-ordinator of the pastoral transportation committee and moderator of the Legion of Mary.

Sister Aiden and Sandra Redmond Keogh of Arklow, Co Wicklow visiting Mobile from Ireland in Sept  2015
Sister Aidan and Sandra Redmond Keogh of Arklow, Co Wicklow visiting Mobile from Ireland in Sept 2015

Sr Aidan announced her retirement from active ministry at 89 years of age finding time then to indulge in a new pastime of painting with watercolours.

Announcing Sr Aidan's 111th birthday the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas said "Sister Mary Aidan Donaldson, RSM, turned 111 today!

"We believe her to be the oldest Sister of Mercy in the world and perhaps the oldest member of any Religious Order. Most days she is up and dressed, sitting in the community room reading, as well as, observing all the comings and goings and occasionally summoning a passerby by name. One of the amazing things about this remarkable woman of Mercy is how much she still participates in community activities—and that includes everything from liturgy and prayer to bingo and bunco."

 All here at Newry.ie wish Sr Aidan a very happy and healthy 112th year.

References:
AL.com HTTPS://WWW.AL.COM/LIVING
Gerontology Wiki HTTPS://GERONTOLOGY.WIKIA.ORG
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM
The Catholic week HTTP://BRPRESSFLIP.COM

Lia Redmond 

 

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