Local priest Fr Victor at the commemoration Mass for Sr Philomene Tiernan in Dodewaard on Saturday
Sr Philomene Tiernan ... on board Malaysian flight
(Photo: Julia Charles)

July 30, 2015

A memorial Mass has been said in Dodewaard, The Netherlands, for Australian nun Sr Philomene Tiernan, killed when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July last year.

Sr Philomene, the sister of former Murgon publican Dermot Tiernan, was returning to Australia after an European trip which included the memorial service for her uncle Patrick Tiernan, killed during World War II.

Her death shocked members of the South Burnett party who were also at Dodewaard to mark the 70th anniversary of the death of Patrick Tiernan.

The Australian Ambassador to The Netherlands, Neil Mules, as well as three of Sr Philomene’s nephews and nuns from her Sacred Heart order attended Saturday’s Mass.

The commemoration had been requested by Dodewaard residents as a final tribute to the popular nun, who was born in Murgon, before her ashes returned to Australia.

After the Mass, the Australian visitors joined local residents at Dodewaard cemetery where Patrick Tiernan and his fellow airman Alf Burns are buried.

They also attended a lunch where local mayor Burgemeester Kees Veerhoek and other dignitaries made speeches.

Also present were the family who had hosted Sr Philomene during her Dodewaard stay and who had enjoyed coffee and cake with her at the airport before she boarded her tragic flight.

The urn holding Sr Philomene’s ashes was placed in front of a large photo of Patrick Tiernan surrounded by flowers and candles.

A Requiem Mass is now planned for Sr Philomene on Saturday in Sydney.

Kincoppal school at Rose Bay, where Sr Philomene was based at the time of her death, launched a bursary in her name on Wednesday this week as well as naming a new Learning Centre in her honour.

FLASHBACK: Dermot Tiernan Jnr with Sr Philomene Tiernan at Dodewaard Cemetery just one year ago (Photo: Leo Geraghty)
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