Doyle, Catherine (1820–1908), nun, was born near Old Kilcullen, Co. Kildare, one of four daughters (and seven children) of John and Mary Doyle. Little is known of her early life or education. In April 1849 she entered St Leo's Convent of Mercy, Carlow, where for the next five years she taught at the attached school and attended the local sick and poor. She received the name Aloysius, and was professed in December 1851. After the outbreak of the Crimean war she was among a group of Mercy nuns who volunteered to serve as nurses at the front. Reaching Constantinople on 17 December 1854, she was later sent to the general hospital at Scutari where, in appalling conditions, she treated soldiers for cholera, dysentery, typhus, and gangrened and frostbitten wounds. She later served at the general hospital in Balaklava (October 1855–April 1856). She and her sisters became the subjects of scrutiny when the war office issued them with a warning not to proselytise, despite their denials of having done so. Returning to Ireland, she was chosen (1857) as superioress of a new foundation in Gort, Co. Galway, where she managed a national school and, from 1872, the local workhouse hospital. She also established an industrial department, where various skills, including weaving and dressmaking, were taught. Responsible for establishing the Mercy foundations at Ennistymon (1871) and Kinvara (1878), she spent much of her time at the latter after her retirement as superioress in 1885. In 1897, as the only surviving Irish war-nurse, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross on the occasion of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, though only after The Times ran an article that referred to her contribution in the campaign. She subsequently wrote and published an account of her Crimean experiences, Memories of the Crimea (1897). She died 3 October 1908.
Sr M. Aloysius, Memories of the Crimea (1897); Helena Concannon, The Irish Sisters of Mercy in the Crimean war (1950); J. J. W. Murphy, ‘An Irish Sister of Mercy in the Crimean war’, Ir. Sword, v (1962), 251–61; Evelyn Bolster, The Sisters of Mercy in the Crimean war (1964); Sr M. de Lourdes Fahy, ‘Mother M. Aloysius Doyle (1820–1908)’, Galway Arch. Soc. Jn., xxxvi (1978), 70–77