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Remains of tragic Derry nun Sister Clare Crockett killed in Ecuador to arrive home

By Donna Deeney

Published 28/04/2016

Sister Clare Theresa Crockett
Sister Clare Theresa Crockett
The school at Playa Prieta, Ecuador, where Sister Clare was working when she was killed in the earthquake

The body of Sister Clare Crockett, the Londonderry nun killed in an earthquake in Ecuador, will be returned to her family tomorrow ahead of her funeral next Monday.

It is understood members of the Home of the Mother Order that Sister Clare joined when she was just 18 will accompany her remains to her family home in the Brandywell area of Derry.

Sister Clare (33) was among 600 people who lost their lives when an earthquake hit Playa Prieta. She died trying to save the students she was giving guitar lessons to.

The repatriation of Sister Clare was taken care of by the Kevin Bell Trust, set up by Colin Bell in memory of his son who died abroad in 2014.

Mr Bell told the Belfast Telegraph confirmation that the unexpected delay in returning the body was over came through yesterday morning.

He said: "It took a while longer than we had hoped because of the situation in Ecuador since the earthquake but Sister Clare will be repatriated to Dublin Airport tomorrow evening. Her remains are being flown from Ecuador to Madrid and then onto Dublin. Her family are understandably very relieved by this news."

Sister Clare's story of how she heard the call to religious life as an 18-year-old self-confessed "party animal" has spread across the globe since she died.

Fr Roland Colhoun, a friend of Sister Clare and her family in Derry, said that while the delay in getting her back to her family has been painful for them, it did allow them extra time to adjust to their loss and grief ahead of their final goodbye on Monday.

He said: "It is an enormous relief for the family that the waiting for Sister Clare's repatriation is almost ended and they have a definite day for her funeral.

"The delay was due to the practical demands on Ecuador dealing with over 600 deaths in the aftermath of the earthquake, but a delay is not always a bad thing because it allows time to grieve and prepare and pray.

"People right across the globe have heard of Sister Clare and watched her video on YouTube in the days since she died. Her message is global and even I have learnt so much more about her and I knew her."

Sister Clare's remains will be taken from her parent's home in the Brandywell at 11.20am for 12pm Requiem Mass in the Long Tower Church on Monday, May 2 before burial in the City Cemetery.

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