Sister Maria Hickey, aged 103 years old, is now Ireland’s oldest coronavirus survivor. She has been a nun for 80 years.
Sister Maria Hickey battled the virus for three weeks and emerged triumphant. She became ill in her nursing home in Cork and was taken to hospital. There was much concern for the rugby-loving Limerick native, born before the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.
Doctor’s said incredibly, she had no underlying medical concerns which helped her greatly to survive.
“We are just so proud of her” Anne Linehan, who is one of the devout nun’s many nieces told he Irish Independent
“We didn’t think that she would make it at first – it is a fair test to come out of COVID-19 at 103.
“We really didn’t know what to expect when we heard that it was COVID-19 but the doctors and nurses couldn’t be more delighted with her progress.
“Right now, she is up out of the bed and walking with her walking aid and eating and in great spirits.
“The doctors are hoping she will be back in the nursing home early this week.”
She had celebrated her 103rd birthday on February 22, her family are more aware than ever of the nun’s astounding recovery.
“My brother actually said this week that it should be in some paper that she survived COVID-19. Everyone is saying how remarkable it is.
“There are younger people losing their lives so that is why we are all so happy to share Martha’s story, it is lovely to hear good news stories.”
Sr Martha was born in 1917 and joined the order at the tender age of 19.
“She’s a very strong person, she’s always had a brilliant sense of humor and has always been so kind.
“During her time as a nun she also worked in Malaysia, she was a primary school teacher and absolutely adored the children.”
Anne recalled her childhood memories of when Sr Martha would visit the family home.
“‘The nun’ coming home on holidays at our house meant all hands on deck to straighten the place before herself would arrive.”
Anne said: “Martha has a huge love of sports – she absolutely loves rugby “Hurling would have been another huge interest of hers she’s also a gardening lover.
“She also has a keen interest in gardening and would sometimes bring a cutting of a favorite plant or flower to her sister Bridie and ensure it was looked after according to her exacting standards.”
As for her fine health “She has always taken care of herself and was always very conscious of what she ate, she would have eaten mostly vegetarian meals and always exercised.”
Sr Martha’s strong faith never wavered.
“She would up to very recently have always carried on saying her prayers.
“She went to a convent for her secondary education and when she was there she felt the calling to be a nun. I think she would have been 19 at the time. She truly is an exceptional lady.
“The entire Hickey, Maloney and Keane families are incredibly proud that this lady has come out the other end of her battle with COVID-19.
“She is some trooper.”