100-year-old County Tipperary nun, Sr. Philomena, dies

The death has occurred on Saturday, October 13, of Sr. Philomena Croke, Presentation Convent, Fethard. The late Sr. Philomena recently celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday, August 20, 2012.

The death has occurred on Saturday, October 13, of Sr. Philomena Croke, Presentation Convent, Fethard. The late Sr. Philomena recently celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday, August 20, 2012.

Sr Philomena was born in Ballingarry and left there at the age of two to live in, Jamestown, Mullinahone. Her father, John, was a creamery manager in Ballingarry for 42 years and her mother, Ellen (Egan), died at the young age of 41, during childbirth of their seventh child, Bernadette.

While going to school in Callan, Sr. Philomena had very happy memories being taught by the Sacred Heart of Mary nuns and made her mind up that she’d like to join them. This she did on September 24, 1930. The order then amalgamated with Thurles Presentation Convent in 1931.

Sr. Finbar went to Thurles as a postulant on April 19, of that year, Sr. Agatha and Sr. Philomena went to Thurles the following day to the noviciate and in 1933 were professed in Thurles. In July 1933, Sr. Philomena, Sr. Finbar and Sr. Agatha came to Fethard where they taught in the primary school up to their retirement.

The Presentation Sisters, up to the 1960s, were not allowed to go any place in Fethard even though they were teaching local history. Sr. Philomena recalled that she didn’t know much about the town except what she could see from the convent. They were allowed go to the old gate and out to the parish church but couldn’t go beyond there. Archbishop Dr. Thomas Morris gave the Sisters permission to take a walk once a year, and eventually permission to go as often as they wished.

Sr. Philomena, speaking of teaching methods at that time, said it was easier to discipline children in those days. There was more parental control in those days and you’d always have the parents on your side.

Sr. Philomena will be well remembered in Fethard for her teaching of the piano and violin. Madge Danaher was her first pupil in Fethard. During her time Sr. Philomena taught music to over eighty pupils, many who have since gone on to excel in music in their adult lives.

Sr. Philomena lived a full and rewarding life, leaving those who had the pleasure of meeting her, far richer for the experience. May she rest in peace.

Funeral Mass took place on Monday, October 15, in Holy Trinity Parish Church, Fethard, followed by interment in Calvary Cemetery.