Northern Ireland

Derry nun killed in Ecuador earthquake dreamt of stardom as a teenager

Sr Crockett singing Image copyright Home of the Mother
Image caption Sister Clare "remembered for her smile and her good work"

A nun from Londonderry who was killed in the Ecuador earthquake was a fan of karaoke who dreamt of stardom before she joined a religious order.

Sr Clare Theresa Crockett, 33, was based at a school in Playa Prieta with the Home of the Mother order.

More than 400 people were killed in Saturday's earthquake.

Fr Roland Colhoun, who knew Sr Clare, described her as "a joyful girl. I've known her since a teenager. A beautiful person".

Aged 17, during a trip to the order's headquarters in Spain, Sr Clare said, "I could become really famous and really rich, or I could stay here and pray to God that I made the right decision".

A neighbour from the Long Tower area of Derry told BBC Radio Ulster that the nun was a childhood friend of her daughter. "Clare was a lovely, bubbly girl".

"I remember her singing in the karaoke," she added.

Image copyright Home of the Mother
Image caption Sister Clare was described as a "joyful" person

Playing guitar and singing was a lifelong passion that she shared with the children in the school in Ecuador.

Sr Clare and another Irish nun, Sr Thérèse Ryan from County Limerick, had been teaching guitar and singing with five young women postulants, who were entering the religious order, when the earthquake struck.

It is believed that they were running out of the building and were trapped on a stairway.

Sr Clare was killed along with the five postulants.

Image copyright Home of the Mother
Image caption Sister Clare (right) pictured with one of the postulants who also died in the earthquake

The Home of the Mother order released a video tribute in which Sr Clare says:

"When I was told I was going to Ecuador to do missionary work there I put my life in God's hands and totally accepted it."

Fr Colhoun expressed the depth of the family's sorrow.

"We at the moment are holding a wake without a body. We have no person to look at, but we look at one another and we try to console one another in the midst of the tragedy," he said.

Image copyright Home of the Mother
Image caption Sister Clare taught guitar in the school

"It's counter cultural to join a religious order for a young girl and she embraced it. We'll remember her with such affection."

Sr Kristin Tenreiro, a close friend, said she would be remembered for her smile and her good work.

"I will remember her with a huge smile on her face, singing, writing songs and I will remember her jokes," she said.

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