The late Nellie Foran, a native of Treacy Park in Carrick-on-Suir, was one of seven young women from the town who joined a French order of nuns in the 1930s.
The 91 year-old was a nun with the Sisters of Marie Joseph De La Misericorde order for 74 years and passed away in Bordeaux on March 4.
Nellie Foran was born on July 19, 1922 and was daughter of the late Richard and Rosie Foran from 3 Treacy Park, Carrick-on-Suir and sister of the late Tommy Foran, Mill Street, Carrick-on-Suir.
She left her hometown in 1939 and travelled to France to join the Sisters of Marie Joseph De La Misericorde, an order that specialised in charitable and social work amongst the deprived and under privileged with special emphasis on the special needs of female prisoners and young children in difficulty. She took the name of Sr Thomas Acquinas.
When she joined the Order in 1939, she did so with six other postulants from Carrick on Suir: Sr Vincent Power, Sr Nicholas O’Neill, Sr Veronica Doyle and Sr La Salette Doyle (who were both sisters), Sr Columba McCarthy and Sr Augustine Torpey.
All are now deceased and Nellie is the last to pass away.
Sr Thomas Acquinas was professed in 1941 following which she joined the Children’s Home in Montpellier, where she remained until 1960.
She was then appointed to Nazareth Children’s Home in Bordeaux and in 1968 to Montbrison before returning to Montpellier in 1973.
In 1987, Sr Thomas Acquinas took over the running of a Shelter for Young Women in Bordeaux.
She returned to the Children’s Home in Montpellier from 1991 to 1993, following which she was chosen as the first Irish born Mother General. She held this position for a period of six years. Her final duty as a nun was at the Depot in Paris visiting the prisons.
Sr Thomas Acquinas had a deserved retirement at the Community in Fresnes outside Paris after a life time dedicated to the work of Christ. She spent 48 of those years dedicated to helping young people in difficulty, which she did with kindness. She knew how to connect with young people, pushing them to achieve their full potential.
Due to an age related illness, Sr. Thomas Acquinas returned to Bordeaux in 2011 where she ended her days and her wonderful life as a nun.
She always maintained that France and the Convent were her home and the nuns her family.
However, Sr Thomas Acquinas loved her visits home to Carrick-on-Suir and her beloved Treacy Park and in later years her brother Tommy’s home in Mill Street.
Her visits to her many friends in the town were always special and much appreciated.
She was a wonderful aunt to her many nephews and nieces and they looked forward eagerly to her homecomings, always bearing gifts and presents such as soccer jerseys and balls from Paris and Bordeaux.
She was a great influence on the next generation of the Forans, her smiling face, her elegance and her beautiful Meditteranean skin.
For her, prayer was the source and God’s word her compass.
It is a remarkable story and Carrick-on-Suir people should always remember the seven young girls, who left their homes in the 1930s to follow their vocations to become nuns in France. All seven are now laid to rest in their adopted country.