CNA Staff, Aug 24, 2020 / 15:00 pm
A surgeon, retired army officer, missionary, and Catholic religious sister is among the featured speakers at this week's Republican National Convention. The convention, which takes place over four days this week, will officially nominate President Donald Trump for reelection.
Sr. Deirdre "Dede" Byrne, POSC, was announced as a speaker by the Trump campaign on Sunday, and she has one of the most unique resumes of any speaker to address the convention. A retired colonel in the U.S. Army and a member of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Byrne has served overseas as a soldier and a missionary.
Raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., as one of seven children, Byrne graduated from Virginia Tech before starting medical school at Georgetown. While there, she entered the Army as a way to cover her tuition and ended up serving for 29 years as both a doctor and a surgeon.
Following medical school, she worked from 1982 until 1985 in the field of family medicine and was a full-time Army officer from 1982 until 1989. After that, she went on to serve as a missionary from 1989 until 1990, while remaining in the Army reserve, and she completed a second residency in general surgery in 1997 - the same year in which she met Mother Teresa. Byrne was tasked to be on standby for any medical needs that might occur during the future saint's visit to Washington.