Another inspirational moment of the visit was when we visited the small town of Playa Prieta, which had also been at the epicentre of the 2016 earthquake. The reason I wanted to make a second visit there was because that was where a nun from Derry, Sr. Clare Crockett, had died on that fateful night in April 2016 while teaching guitar class. Her story had touched many people and I also was inspired to see what had become of the school and church where she had lived and died. When I had visited in late 2016 (seven months after the earthquake) there was still rubble lying everywhere – nothing had been moved. Now the schoolyard had been totally cleared with new classrooms and a new convent built. On the site, where the old school had fallen in the earthquake, there was a new chapel where the nuns celebrate daily Mass. The chapel has a capacity for around 40 people, so it was not too big.
I had already been asked by the nuns to celebrate Mass there so was prepared for an emotional moment. However, in the actual celebration of the Mass, I was struck that on this very site where Sister Clare and 5 others had died, there we were Celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. Death and Resurrection side by side! At various points during the liturgy I had to stop myself because of the emotion of the moment – only to be pushed over an emotional edge by the Ecuadorian nuns’ rendition – in perfect English – of ‘Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland’ a personal favourite of Sr. Clare.
While we were in the earthquake zone at Playa Prieta, we heard of a documentary, which had been made of the life of Sr. Clare. It is called “All of Nothing” and can now be watched through You Tube. It documents the story of Sr. Clare from her youthful days in Derry, through (by her own admission) her ‘wild days’ to the moment when she gave her life in the earthquake. You will hear her talking about her own vocation and also hear her family members and other nuns talking about her inspirational life. I would encourage you to watch it and be inspired; it will be a worthwhile use of an hour and a half!
Read the full Christmas 2018 Newsletter here:
Christmas Newsletter 2018