Nun who fought for Irish prisoners dies


 Sister Sarah Clare, a La Sainte Union nun who dedicated much of her life to helping Irish political prisoners and their families, died on 4 February, aged 83. Born in Galway in 1919, Sr Sarah entered La Sainte des Sacre Cours in Co Kildare in 1939. As a young nun, she studied at Chelsea College of Art, before going on to teach at junior and secondary level in Our Lady's Bower, Athlone and Herne Bay, Kent. She later moved to north London. For years she campaigned to free the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six - recruiting the help of MPs, members of the House of Lords, and Cardinal Hume, who took up the case of the Guildford Four. "There's no doubt about about it - without Sr Sarah we'd all still be in jail. She never let up," said Billy Power, one of the Birmingham Six. "She was a ceaseless campaigner for justice," Fr Gerry Killehan, chaplain at the London Irish Centre in Camden said. "A remarkable woman, greatly respected by the London Irish community." "She acted despite her fear," said lawyer Gareth Pierce, speaking on Irish radio last Tuesday. "She tackled the untackleable. She was fantastic." Sr Sarah was also active in helping the families of Irish prisoners in England, offering legal support and hospitality at the her convent in London. Some of the prisoners she worked for had committed terrible crimes. When criticised, she would say: "Christ himself was a prisoner." Just before Christmas, Sr Sarah was presented with one of the Vatican's highest honours, the Cross of the Church and Pontiff, for her contribution to peace and justice.

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