Wednesday 26 October 2016

Young Irish missionary dies in accident in Africa

A file picture from Monrovia where Mary Ann O’Driscoll, an aid worker from Dublin, died
A file picture from Monrovia where Mary Ann O’Driscoll, an aid worker from Dublin, died

The woman, who was in her mid 20s, died earlier this week in Monrovia. It is believed she was working with the Franciscan Works charity which provides educational services to the young in Liberia

She is survived by her parents and a number of siblings.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the family.

The nature of the accident in which she died is unclear. However, her death was not related to a medical issue. Ebola has resurged in the country in recent weeks but was definitively ruled out in this case.

A death notice for the young woman said that funeral arrangements are to be finalised later, and advised people "to please check back over the next few days for further possible updates".

In a blog posting, the young woman described herself as a Catholic missionary and said she had first travelled to Liberia in February 2013.

"I thought I would be here for three months and that would be enough to satisfy my call to missionary," she wrote.

"I had every hope of travelling the world and even got accepted to a Master’s degree. My plan was set and I was looking forward to my time in Liberia so I could close that chapter and tick the ‘do volunteer work’ box on my life check-list.

"After the three months I left Liberia with a heavy heart, I felt so drawn to missionary life and to the country."

She said that despite struggling with the life in west Africa she felt closer to God and, on returning to Dublin, she realised that Liberia was becoming akin to a home for her.

She had travelled back to west Africa a number of times, and was working as Director of the Liberia Mission when she died.

There is no date on the posting.

"I am excited for what is to come and what I have yet to learn," she wrote.

"This week I will complete my driving classes. That’s my first accomplishment. I look forward with anticipation to what we can achieve during my year here. I hope and pray my time here is fruitful and I can make a little difference."

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