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Two nuns laid to rest after double drowning

By Sarah Mac Donald - 20 August, 2014

Sr Paula BuckleyPresentation nun, Sr Paula Buckley, who drowned while swimming in the sea at Inch Strand last week “belonged to two communities” her funeral Mass heard on Tuesday.

Fr Joe Egan told hundreds of mourners in Cashel that the 70-year-old nun had her own blood family and the Presentation family and that both of these families were in mourning.

“We sincerely sympathise with you,” he said.

The funeral took place two days after Sr Paula should have celebrated her golden jubilee.

The symbols at the Mass were those which she had chosen for Sunday’s Mass of celebration.

They included her bible; a lantern – the symbol of Venerable Nano Nagle, foundress of the Presentation Sisters; some family photographs; water from the River Suir and a head of cabbage which she planted earlier in the year in Clondalkin.

On Sunday, Bishop Denis Nulty commented on the suddenness, swiftness and speed with which two elderly Irish nuns lost their lives in Co Kerry at Sr Imelda Carew’s funeral Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Mountmellick.

Earlier, Bishop Ray Browne of Kerry issued a statement in which he expressed on his own behalf and that of Bishop Bill Murphy and the Diocese of Kerry their deepest sympathy to the families of Sr Imelda Carew and Sr Paula Buckley.

“It is a shocking and sudden tragedy and a great loss for their families, including their Presentation family and friends,” he said.

He added that the Presentation Order “is greatly valued here in Kerry Diocese, and we are all saddened at the loss of two of their members while on holiday here in Kerry.”

Sr Imelda Carew PBVM

Sr Imelda Carew PBVM

The Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin said on Sunday that for colleagues, family and friends of the two nuns it was “a huge ask in terms of the shock factor, the stunned reaction, the search for meaning and words.”

“Their death robs us of our own sense of security, our own future plans, our own sense of place and presence,” he said.

Sr Imelda Carew (67), a province leader and Sr Paula Buckley (70) drowned after getting into difficulty swimming at Inch Strand.

Despite desperate attempts by paramedics to revive them with CPR, they were pronounced dead at Tralee Hospital in Co Kerry.

Presentation Congregational Leader, Sr Mary Deane, said in a statement last Friday, “Words seem inadequate to express our loss and sorrow as we come to terms with the tragic events that unfolded on a beautiful sunny evening.”

She said the loss of the two nuns was tragic. “These two wonderful women”, Sr Dean said, have been “a source of inspiration and blessing to many people throughout their lives.”

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