A north Belfast church was packed yesterday as hundreds of mourners paid tribute to a much-loved long-serving nun.
Sister Carmel Martin, of the Rosminian Order, passed away suddenly on Friday night.
Her funeral service was attended by scores of children yesterday at the Sacred Heart Church in north Belfast, where Father Martin Magill officiated.
She passed away after meeting with two bereaved families.
Fr Magill said Sr Carmel was so well known in the community because she spent so much time volunteering and helping others.
"She was very generous with her time," he said. "She knew such a vast number of people."
This was clear from the number of people who attended her funeral service.
"The church was completely full and there were certainly people standing around the walls. There were even people up in the gallery as well. There wouldn't normally be people like that."
Sister Carmel grew up in Dundalk and in 1980 she joined the religious order of the Sisters of Providence, also known as the Rosminian Order.
She was appointed to the Sacred Heart parish in north Belfast in 1985 and had lived there ever since.
In his sermon, Fr Magill listed the ways Sister Martin was involved in the parish over the past 30 years.
He said he had probably forgotten some, but she was involved in at least 13 or 14 different activities.
She volunteered with the Society of St Vincent de Paul and was on the board of governors at Our Lady's Nursery School in Belfast. She also visited the sick and regularly helped families in need.
Fr Magill said that since her passing, people have told him how stunned they are.
"The predominant feeling would have to be shock," he said. "She had a parish celebration for her 60th birthday in July and was full of life for that. And as far as we could see last week was again full of life, too."
Sr Martin is survived by her brothers Luke and Aidan, her sister Ann and her family circle. Fr Magill said she had recently been visiting her niece in Donegal.
"It was very clear that she was close to her family," he said.
He said Sr Martin will be missed greatly in north Belfast.
"For all that she was involved in, she would have been such a familiar figure and such a well known figure in this area and she'll certainly be missed."
Sister Martin was buried at St Patrick's Cemetery in Dundalk, near her parents.