A Rathdowney family is making a heartfelt appeal to their long lost relative who disappeared in mysterious circumstances over 30 years ago but who they now believe is living in Tipperary, to come forward so the family can be re-united at long last.
The family wants closure on a painful episode which saw them separated from their sister and aunt, who disappeared without a trace in Swansea in 1979. The family is now convinced that Sr Jacinta, previously Christina Nuala Bracken, is living somewhere in Tipperary. They’re hoping Sr Jacinta will read this story and come forward so she can meet her family before it’s too late.
“A lot of our family has passed on and we want to have closure on it, for her and her family,” her namesake and niece Jacinta said. “Just to let her know that she can contact us. We want her to know that she can still come back after all these years.”
Sr Jacinta disappeared without a trace on May 19, 1979, while working as a music teacher for the Ursuline of Jesus Convent in Swansea.
At the time, local police in Wales launched a major missing person’s search, with appeals through local media. The case grew cold, but five years ago, the Detective Inspector leading the search re-opened the matter, reconstructing key stages of Sr Jacinta’s disappearance on BBC television. The footage was not shown on Irish television. Along the way, the family has hired private investigators and even a psychic in a bid to track down Sr Jacinta’s whereabouts. “She left the convent one day. Her bag was found but that was it. Her belongings were gone as well. She played guitar and that was gone,” said her niece. The family nearly had their hopes dashed five years ago when Swansea Police uncovered a body they thought was Sr Jacinta’s. The UK authorities obtained DNA evidence from the remaining family, but the body turned out not to be their aunt and sister. Recently, new information has come to light, suggesting that Sister Jacinta made her way by ferry from Swansea back to Cork, and even to Tipperary. Born Christina Nuala Bracken on November 26, 1939, Christina became Sr Jacinta upon taking her vows. She would now be 72 years old.
Sr Jacinta’s surviving relatives include a sister in Rathdowney, a brother in Thurles, while two more sisters are in England and Australia, along with an extended family of nieces and nephews. If Sr Jacinta, or ‘Christina’ is reading this, please contact the Tipperary Star newspaper in Thurles confidentially, at 0504 29100, or send post to The Tipperary Star, Friar Street, Thurles. Or contact your niece Jacinta in confidence (087 6480987). Better late than never.