Sister Philomene Tiernan, a Catholic nun living in Sydney, Australia, is being mourned by her community after being confirmed as a victim of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, shot down over Ukrainian airspace on Thursday.
A statement issued by the Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart mourned her loss, as she had been associated with their community for over 30 years. “We are devastated by the loss of such a wonderfully kind, wise and compassionate woman, who was greatly loved by us all. Phil contributed greatly to our community and she touched the lives of all of us in a very positive and meaningful way," said Principal Hilary Johnston-Croke.
"Her entire existence was to bring good into this world," wrote Lucy Thackray, a former student of Tiernan's in a Daily Mail Tribute. "But she gave unwavering guidance and taught people that faith in God, in themselves, and in the world would carry you through the journey."
The nun, a Sister of the Sacred Heart, was returning to Australia after a trip to Europe which had included a visit to St. Francis Xavier Church in Paris, where the founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, is buried.
A student at Kincoppal-Rose Bay, a boarding school, said, "I feel like since we are all away from our parents she seemed like a grandma that everyone just loved."