A close up of elderly women holding hands
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Maryknoll sister Noel Devine: Living a meaningful life

Sister Noel Devine is 85-years-old, and for 67 of those years she has served as a Maryknoll sister. At the end of her career, she still insists on living a meaningful life of service.

The Maryknoll Sisters were founded 100 years ago. They were the first US-based Catholic Sisters to dedicate their lives to mission work abroad. After teaching in Chicago for ten years, Sister Noel moved to Hong Kong in 1969, where she studied Cantonese and taught at the Maryknoll Sisters Secondary School.

In 1998, Sister Noel retired to the Maryknoll Sisters Residential Center in Ossining, New York, joining 80 other retired nuns. Diagnosed with PLS (Primary Lateral Sclerosis) in 2003, she cannot speak, and needs assistance to dress herself and communicate. Even so, she says her new mission is to look after others. She seeks to bring comfort and joy to her fellow sisters, including those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's.

Produced for the BBC by Melanie Burford

  • 02 Apr 2012