Sister Clare Crockett is “truly the best thing to come out of Derry”, crowds gathered for the blessing of a new mural in her honour have been told.
People came together on Sunday evening to witness the official dedication of the UV Arts mural, which was funded through local people buying candles in memory of Sister Clare.
Carmelite priest Fr Stephen O.Carm from Termonbacca told those gathered that the mural was the culmination of two years’ work dedicated to growing awareness of Sister Clare.
He said: “We have had so many bad headlines over the last decades for the Church, but you have to see the history of the Church as a handing on in every generation of Saints; a handing on of the authentic gospel to each generation, and this girl behind me who is portrayed in this mural is one of the authentic messengers of Christ.
“Sister Clare came from this area, came from ordinary people living an ordinary life, knowing what it was to live as a young person in Derry, in Ireland, in western Europe, knowing the dangers and blessings of that. And God chose this ordinary person from the Brandywell to speak to the Church, to speak to the world, and our work is to try and draw attention to the message that she speaks to the people of Derry; to the people of Ireland.”
Fr Stephen added: “We don’t celebrate in this mural the past. So often with murals in the north we celebrate the past. With this mural we celebrate the future, where we are all going.
“We are not here to celebrate the memories of Sister Clare. We celebrate that she is still here, that she lives in Christ, and that she points out to young people and old people the way to heaven, and that’s why she is so significant.”
To laughter and then applause from those assembled, he added: “I come from Belfast and I always thought the best thing in Derry was the road to Belfast - a reverse of one of your jokes you tell about us!
“This girl behind me, she is truly the best thing to come out of Derry.”
After he delivered the blessing, Sister Clare’s sisters Megan Nicell and Shauna Gill unveiled a plaque featuring details of Sister Clare’s life and her prayer.
Father Stephen thanked UV Arts “who did an outstanding job” on the mural, and all those who helped sell candles, prepare the wall, with social media and Ladbroke’s bookmakers “for giving us the gable end”, and the rest of Derry for their support, prayer cards, and candles. “We would not be anywhere without you,” he said.
He urged people to watch the film ‘All or Nothing’ on YouTube and to spread the word.
Bishop of Derry Donal McKeown had been expected at the ceremony but a prior engagement prevented his attendance.
Following the blessing, the gathered crowd then walked the short distance to the Brandywell Grotto where an open air Mass dedicated to Sister Clare was held.