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17th May - Marie Elizabeth Hayes

#OnThisDay, 17th May 1874 Marie Elizabeth Hayes was born.

Marie Elizabeth Hayes, the oldest daughter of the Rev. Francis Hayes and his wife Annabella Willson, was born on 17 May 1874, in the Glebe House, Raheny. Her father was appointed Rector of Raheny Parish in 1873 and served the parish for over forty years.  Her mother founded the Mothers’ Union of Ireland promoting the well-being of families.

Marie was a pupil of Alexandra College and then decided to study for a medical degree. She continued her education at the Catholic University School of Medicine.  She was conferred with her degree in 1904.  After graduation she worked for a few months as a locum in the Belfast Infirmary.   In preparation for work in India, she attended the School of Tropical Medicine in London and also undertook special missionary training and the study of the Urdu language.

In 1905, Marie went to work for the Cambridge Mission to Delhi, India.

St. Stephen’s Hospital, the first hospital for women and children in Delhi was opened in 1885. Marie worked there as well as the missions two other hospitals in Karnal and Rewari. She was later given sole control of the hospital in Rewari.

She died in Delhi on 4th January 1908, aged only 33 years.  Her funeral service was held in St. Stephen’s Church, followed by her burial in the Indian Christian Cemetery.

Her memorial service was held in All Saints' Church, Raheny, on January 6, 1908.

A Celtic cross and a pump were erected as a memorial in Raheny village.  The cross has been relocated a number of times and is now located at the paved area beside St. Assam’s Church and graveyard.

Her mother kept all Marie’s letters and after her death, she edited them and had them published – ‘At work : letters of Marie Elizabeth Hayes’ and these are available to read on Internet Archive -

You can read more about Marie Elizabeth Hayes in the Raheny Heritage Society’s publication ‘Raheny Footprints’.

Look at our photo gallery to see some photos.