Death of nun awarded BEM for peace and reconciliation in Larne

Some founder members of the Tuesday Group are, Sister Olcan (left), Robert Alexander and Sister Catherine INLT 52-210-AM
Some founder members of the Tuesday Group are, Sister Olcan (left), Robert Alexander and Sister Catherine INLT 52-210-AM

Tributes have been paid to Cross and Passion nun Sister Olcan who passed away on Tuesday April 2.

Sr. Olcan, who was originally from Loughgiel, was one of the founders of the cross-community Tuesday Group at Drumalis Retreat and Conference Centre in Larne.

Pictured at the Tuesday Group's 20th anniversary celebration at Drumalis are Rev Lena Cockroft, Sister Catherine,  Archdeacon Stephen Fforde, Sister Olcan, Scott and  Brian Cockfrort. INLT 26-334-PR

Pictured at the Tuesday Group's 20th anniversary celebration at Drumalis are Rev Lena Cockroft, Sister Catherine, Archdeacon Stephen Fforde, Sister Olcan, Scott and Brian Cockfrort. INLT 26-334-PR

She was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) for services to peace and reconciliation by the Queen in June 2017.

The Tuesday Group, an inter-denominational group of local clergy and lay members, set up after the IRA ceasefire in 1994 and over the last quarter of a century has worked to bring people of all faiths and backgrounds together to help create a more inclusive and peaceful society.

Rev. Dr. Colin McClure, minister of First Larne Presbyterian Church, said: “Sr. Olcan was a quiet pioneer in developing relationships among Christians in the town and surrounding areas and led by her, her quiet powerful example at a time when it would have been difficult, she was working away just developing friendships and relationships with people.”

Sister Olcan was also honorary president of Larne YMCA.

Joy Montgomery, general secretary, Larne YMCA, said: “It was sad to hear of her death. Sr. Olcan was someone who contributed so much to community relations in the Larne area.”

YMCA board member Robert Alexander, who was also a founder member of the Tuesday Group, commented: “Sr. Olcan was a great friend. She was a wonderful example of true Christianity.

“Sr. Olcan was like Jesus, she did not judge people. She loved them.

“I had great regard for Sr. Olcan. She was a wonderful person.”

He said that he will be among mourners at her funeral on Saturday.

Sr. Olcan passed away at a Cross and Passion Convent for sick and retired nuns in Belfast.

Her Requiem Mass will take place at at St Matthias’ Church, Glen Road, in Belfast, at noon.

Burial will follow at St Brigid’s and St Patrick’s Church, in Ballycastle.