'Gentle and innocent' Nora Quoirin brought so much joy to her family, funeral told
Mourners at yesterday's Farewell Service for 15-year-old Nora Quoirin were told she was a gentle and innocent child who gifted others with immeasurable love.
More than 400 people turned out for 1pm Mass at St Brigid's Church in south Belfast - the church where Nora was baptised as a baby.
Nora was found dead in a Malaysian jungle 10 days after she went missing from a resort where she was on holiday with parents Meabh and Sebastien, sister, Innes and brother Maurice.
Her body was cremated prior to the service yesterday morning.
During his homily the priest told the congregation how "15 years ago on a joy-filled afternoon" Nora's parents "together with all the family came to this church and carried Nora to the baptismal font".
Referring to "her gentleness and her innocence", Fr Eddie O'Donnell said the tragic death of Nora, who was born with the brain disorder holoprosencephaly, brought "unspeakable pain" to her loved ones.
Nora's great uncle Fr Pat Kelly co-celebrated yesterday's Mass with Fr O'Donnell, parish priest of St Brigid's, who reminded those who'd come to say goodbye that Nora was a vulnerable child "who depended greatly on others".
The youngster, who lived in London with her family, disappeared on August 4 and was discovered after a 10-day search around the Malaysian jungle resort of Dusun last month.
Addressing a packed church, Fr O'Donnell described her as "gentle and innocent" and said her death in such terrible circumstances so far from home raised many unanswerable questions and left people struggling to comprehend.
"Nora was very special. She brought so much joy to Meabh and Sebastien, to her sister Innes and to Maurice her brother, and to those of the wider family circle," he said.
"She, as we all know, depended greatly on others but Nora in turn gifted others with immeasurable love and joy. Before such an ability we can only feel gratitude.
"Today we return to St Brigid's, united in the unspeakable pain of Nora's tragic death, united too in wordless sympathy for Nora's family.
"I ask myself, as surely you must do, 'What is the meaning of this terrible pain that has been inflicted on Nora's family?'
"We have, have we not, found ourselves wondering, 'If God is good and has for us the love that no human love can match, why then is there such suffering in our world?'. We do not understand and our stumbling words are so terribly inadequate."
Fr O'Donnell said that by "practising the art of love" those who mourn Nora can hold on to her for ever.
"We who grieve for Nora hold her memory in love, believing that all the bonds of love and affection which bind us together throughout our lives do not unravel with death," he said.
He concluded: "Meabh and Sebastien, Innes and Maurice - remember Nora's love for you and know that she still loves you, and as you continue to love her, love one another."
Nora's aunts Aisling and Eadaoin Agnew and her uncle Michael Agnew participated in yesterday's service. Aisling played the flute while the others said the readings during Mass.
When Nora disappeared from her hotel room, her parents raised fears she had been abducted, insisting she would not have wandered off by herself.
Police in Malaysia have however said they have so far found no evidence of abduction or kidnapping. A post-mortem examination revealed Nora died from internal bleeding probably caused by hunger and stress.