Sister Clare Theresa Crockett, 33, the young Irish nun who died with five others in the Ecuador earthquake as she tried to lead them to safety throws a light on an Ireland which we do not see very often. Her death reveals a heroism, as her life itself did. She was the last to be dug out of the rubble after a stairwell collapsed in the school where she taught in Playa Prieta in the western province of Manabi.
“She was a superstar. Everybody loved her,” her cousin Emmet Doyle said to The Daily Mail.
She was with six Ecuadorian postulants, in the early stages of joining the order, when the disaster struck.
“She was trying to get them down the stairs and the staircase collapsed.
“She died as she lived, helping others.”
Sr Clare, from the Brandywell area of Derry city, was a nun with the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother and taught 400 children in the Colegio Sagrada Familia school, including how to play the guitar.
Her vocation, what she did and how she lived are portrayed in this brief video.
The five dead postulants were named by the Order as Jazmina, Mayra, Maria Augusta, Valeria and Catalina .
Two others were pulled from the rubble after their voices were heard.
Sr Clare joined the Order aged 18 and worked in Spain, the US and other parts of the world before going to Ecuador.
“Her death has shocked and saddened the entire community in Derry and further afield.”
The parish of her family, Long Tower in her native Derry, opened a book of condolence in memory of Sister Clare Crockett, on Friday night.
Father Brendan Collins C.C., quoted in The Derry Journal, said that parishioners from the Long Tower where Sister Clare lived and grew up, wanted to show their support and sympathy to the family.
Describing Sister Clare as an “inspirational young woman of the parish,” Father Brendan said the community would come together tonight at 7.30 p.m. for Mass, followed by the rosary.
“Sister Clare was well known locally and since her death people who knew her have been sharing memories and stories.
“Young people who hear of Sister Clare’s story, particularly in this modern world, can associate with her. She found real contentment in her life and she died as she lived, helping other people.”
The Derry priest encouraged as many people as possible to come to pray for Sister Clare, and her family and that her remains will be returned to her family as soon as possible.