Northern Ireland news

Co Down nun dies in South African convent in 101st year

Sr Mary Bartholomew wrote a book looking back on her beloved parish of Drumgooland

A CO Down nun died in her 101th year at her South African convent on St Valentine's Day.

Sr Mary Bartholomew, who was sent to work in the country at the start of World War II, had celebrated the centenary of her birth at the end of 2019.

Her Irish nieces travelled over to mark the occasion with her in Port Elizabeth.

Born Philomena Cunningham, she and her older sister Mary Bernadette attended Sacred Heart Grammar School in Newry and were among the first girls to play camogie in Leitrim before an official team had been set up by the Fontenoy's GAA club.

She entered the Assumption Convent in Ballynahinch after leaving school and undertook religious formation and teacher training in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.

Taking her vows in 1942, she spent decades teaching and on her retirement was assigned to open a clinic and pre-school for refugees fleeing the Mozambique war.

Sr Mary later wrote a book looking back on Drumgooland parish.

Her funeral will take place in the Church of St Bernadette in Port Elizabeth at 2pm on Friday.

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