Nun among dead in Malaysian disaster

Sister Philomena Tiernan
Sister Philomena Tiernan

By Shelley Marsden

AN Irish-Australian nun Philomena Tiernan has been named among the dead in MH17 disaster, which saw a passenger plane flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur shot down by a missile in Eastern Ukraine.

Sister Philomena Tiernan was coming home from a retreat in Paris and according to an old friend, Father Tony Doherty, had spent a week there before making her way to Amsterdam for the flight to Malaysia.

Father Doherty said that everyone who knew her was devastated by the news. He told RTE One: “She was a very beloved member of the Sydney community. She was Australian born and bred but with a name like Tiernan, she had deep roots in Ireland.”

“We are going to have a mass for her tomorrow. The parish is coming together to celebrate her life, acknowledge the vitality she made to the lives of many young women she has taught.”

“I knew Phil for 30 years. She was such a gentle woman. Her personality made her a very beloved teacher for thousands of young women mover 30 years.”

Everyone on board the Malaysia Airlines flight, 298 passengers and crew, died in the crash.

In a tense phone-call on Sunday night, British Prime Minister David Cameron told Russian leader Vladimir Putin he was partly to blame for the “appalling tragedy” and demanded access to the site so that victims’ families can have “proper funerals”.

The crash site has been taken control of by Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and the remains of nearly 200 victims loaded on to a train, whose destination is unknown.



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