On 27th May, in the quaint little Chappelle de Notre-Dame, on the final evening of her most recent pilgrimage to Lourdes, Sr Eithna Synnott OLA was one of the volunteers presented with the St Patrick’s Medal for her unwavering dedication and service in Lourdes over the past four decades. The medal was presented by Bishop Michael Router, the Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh.

It is a last day tradition on the Pilgrimage to hold an awards ceremony to recognise and honour the devoted volunteers. The volunteers serve as the lifeblood of the pilgrimage, providing essential support and dedication that sustains its spirit and mission.  Sr Eithna’s name had been put forward for consideration by the Dungannon committee who wished to acknowledge her exceptional commitment to serving in Lourdes. “[She] has definitely served with love, compassion and care for all on the Archdiocese of Armagh Pilgrimages over the years,” shared one of the committee members.

Sr Eithna had no inkling that her name would be called, and she was seated at the back of the chapel far away from the other recipients, “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry,” she said, “The Lord is always the God of surprises and the Divine Physician to me.”

She attributes her work as a medical doctor over the years to be in service of the Divine Physician. Serving in Lourdes is one of the great joys of her life and she considers her vocation to Lourdes as a direct calling from Mary herself, “Mary keeps calling, and when I stand in front of grotto I ask her…why me?……I hope she keeps calling me there!”

The Saint Patrick’s Medal, commissioned by Archbishop Sean Brady in 2006, was established to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the Church and the broader community within the Diocese of Armagh.

We extend our warmest wishes to Sr Eithna on receiving this medal. Her unwavering commitment, love, and compassion have touched countless lives, embodying the true spirit of selflessness and devotion.

Congratulations, Sr Eithna, and may your journey continue to be blessed with grace and fulfillment.