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Catherine MacDonald, born in 1909, was the daughter of James MacDonald and Marion MacLeod of Skye. Between 1915 and 1923 she was a pupil at Berneray School, under the guardianship of her aunt's husband Donald MacLeod of 24 Borve.
Catherine became a domestic servant. Her son and daughter were born in the 1920s. Catherine married John Shaw of Ferry, Berneray, with whom she had two further children. Later he became a missionary for the Church of Scotland and the family moved with him, variously to Grosebay, Harris and New Mission House, Malaclete on North Uist.