Updated: 05/01/17 : 07:04:57
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Sligo nun celebrates 105th birthday

There was much to celebrate in St John's Community Hospital in Sligo yesterday when Sister Aidan Beirne celebrated her 105th birthday.

All 12 of her brothers and sisters have died, but Sr Aidan's nieces and nephews were out in force to celebrate the day with her.

Sr Aidan attributes her long life to good living.

She joined the Sisters of Mercy when she was 20-years-old in 1932.

"It was the year of the Eucharistic Congress, when I entered," Sr Aidan recalled at an earlier interview in 2016. "I remember when I was in first class and my teacher, Mrs Keane, was asking us what we wanted to be and I said a nun. I'd a lot of cousins who were nuns as well." Growing up in Ballaghaderreen, there were 13 in her family.  

"My mother was upset at first in case I'd join the Missionary nuns and move away, she didn't want me to go abroad. She was happy when I came to Sligo." There were 82 nuns there at that time, novices and professed sisters. A lot were from Roscommon and Kerry too."

Among Sr Aidan's passions was embroidery and she trained people in the skill. "My mother was big into embroidery, making dresses for us." Sr Aidan spent many years making all the habits for the nuns in Sligo, which was difficult work.

Then in the 50s, she moved into reception, where she greeted the many visitors coming and going with her friendly welcome. "I have many fond memories and friends from over the years. They are happy memories, of times meeting people and I was happy to look after them."

She smiles when asked the secret to a long life. "The Lord's been good to lead me here, I take every day as it comes and help anyone that I can," she explained. 

The sprightly 105-year-old said she was looking forward to seeing everybody again at her 110th birthday party.