Sister Deirdre Byrne is an active missionary sister and superior of her community in Washington, DC. She is double board-certified in family medicine and general surgery. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Sister Deirdre (known to many as Sister DeDe) is one of eight siblings, attended Langley High School, and graduated from Virginia Tech. After college, Sister DeDe followed in her thoracic surgeon father’s footsteps and entered medical school at Georgetown University, where she eventually completed a surgical residency. During that time she also joined the Army. After a life of medical and military service in far ranging areas, she was led to the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts community, whose charism involves sisters placing each and every person they care for between the Heart of Jesus and Mary. Her apostolate has been performing overseas medical missionary surgery and providing free medical care for the poor and uninsured. The over 125-year-old community includes 400-500 members. By 2000, the board-certified Dr. Byrne made her commitment to the Little Workers and began her novitiate training in earnest.
Sister DeDe retired with the rank of Colonel from the United States Army in 2009 after 29 years of service in the military. She was extremely grateful for the opportunity to have served the “brave soldiers” while deployed to Afghanistan. Over the years, Sister Deirdre has found it easy to integrate her medical and military service into her religious vocation. Though comfortable in scrubs, she wears a full black or a white working habit when she can and is grateful for the impact it has on those to whom she ministers. Currently, she is the superior of the D.C. Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts house near Catholic University, where the sisters run a pro-bono physical therapy clinic and diabetic eye clinic, retirement home for her elderly sisters as well as a music school pre-school children.
Sister DeDe’s other charitable medical/surgical service includes hands-on ministry in the rubble of the twin towers following the terrorist attack on 9-11, caring for the sick during the earthquake in Haiti in 2011 and annual medical missions to Haiti and Iraq.
Watch Sr. Dede’s talk from the 2021 GIVEN Forum:
Learn More about the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts: