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'She was like the gospel in action': Tributes to Derry nun who died in Ecuador earthquake

Sister Clare Theresa Crockett had worked in a school in Playa Prieta.

Image: Home of the Mother/Facebook

Updated: 10pm

A NUN FROM Derry is among the over 270 dead following the most devastating earthquake to hit Ecuador in decades.

Sister Clare Theresa Crockett (33) had been based in the Playa Prieta area of the country with the Home of the Mother order.

The congregation said her body was found in the rubble of a fallen school.

“Sister Clare had spent nearly 15 years of her life in consecration to the Lord. She was a generous sister with a special gift for reaching out to children and young people,” the order said.

The Home of the Mother also released a video tribute to Sister Clare, who was 17 when she met the sisters:

Source: Home of the Mother/YouTube

In a statement to the BBC, her family said:

On Sunday 17 April, we lost our daughter, sister and aunt Sister Clare Theresa Crockett as a result of the earthquake in Ecuador.
She was situated in a school in Playa Prieta with the Home of the Mother order. At this difficult time we would ask for privacy.

Derry priest Fr Roland Colhoun described her as a “beautiful person” who had “great faith”.

“Everything about her was joyful. She [had] a constant smile,” he told RTÉ’s News at One.

She was like the gospel in action. She was always helping people.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan also offered his sympathies to the late nun’s family, who he said are being provided with consular assistance from his department.

“The tributes paid to Sister Crockett since the weekend are a testament to the difference she made to the lives of the community she served,” Flanagan said.

“On behalf of the government and people of Ireland, I also want to extend our sincere condolences to the people of Ecuador on the tragic and heavy loss of life from Saturday’s devastating earthquake,” he added.

Our thoughts are with the families of all those who were killed as they mourn their loss

‘Certain to rise’

The death toll from the earthquake rose to 272 today as rescue teams continue to pull survivors from piles of debris.

The 7.8-magnitude quake struck Ecuador’s capital, Quito, shortly before 1am Irish time on Saturday night, shattering hotels and homes along the country’s Pacific coast.

Ecuador Earthquake Volunteers and rescue workers search through rubble in Manta. Source: Patricio Ramos/AP/Press Association Images

More than 2,000 people were injured as structures collapsed and in the dozens of aftershocks that followed.

Officials have declared a state of emergency in the worst-hit provinces, and a national state of “exception”, both of which suspend certain civil rights and liberties to allow security forces and officials to react faster.

President Rafael Correa visited the disaster zone yesterday after cutting short an official trip to the Vatican.

He said the latest toll of 272 dead “will certainly rise and probably in a considerable way” in the hours ahead.

Additional reporting by AFP

Read: Ecuador earthquake: At least 233 dead as rescue efforts begin

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Catherine Healy

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