A memorial service for Sister Declan held at Cluny Women’s College on Monday. (Chinlop Fudong Lepcha)
Kalimpong, Feb. 13: The founder of Cluny Women’s College, Sister M. Declan Fahy, passed away in a Siliguri hospital yesterday.
The funeral of the 75-year-old Irish missionary, who was ailing for sometime, will take place at St Joseph’s Convent here at 11am tomorrow. She was the last of the foreign missionaries in Kalimpong.
The body of Sister Declan, as she was popularly known, was brought here last night. Her cortege will be taken round the town from 9am-11am tomorrow to enable people to pay their last respect to a person who had devoted over 40 years in spreading education in town.
The funeral service will be held at the Kenny Hall of St Joseph’s Convent.
“Sister Declan was lovingly addressed as boju, which means granny. Words do not suffice in expressing how dear she was to all of us… With (the death of) boju, comes the end of an era of the last of the foreign missionaries. It is indeed a great loss for us. The void is irreplaceable,” said Sister Punam Rai, a nun of the Sisters of St Joseph’s of Cluny.
Sister Declan also founded the Cluny Community College for the underprivileged boys and girls of the town.
She came to Kalimpong in April 1971 and took charge of St Joseph’s Convent. Subsequently, she served as the Superior at St Anne’s Convent and St Philomena’s School, Kalimpong, before establishing Cluny Women’s College in 1998.
Born in Roo, Craughwell, Co. Galway in Ireland on July 24, 1936, Sister Declan joined the novitiate at Ferbane. She did her education in Ireland, India and England.
After graduating from St Joseph’s College (North Point), Darjeeling, in 1961, she joined St Joseph’s Convent, Chandannagore, Hooghly.
“She was especially attracted towards the weaker ones — the slow learners in her class, women, the poor and the village children. Yet she always stood for excellence, striving to bring the best out of them... She was such a resourceful person who could meticulously see to the needs of the kindergarten, making learning enjoyable and at the same time impart lessons on world history and English literature to the graduates,” said Sister Rai.
Sister Declan had also authored a number of books under Living English and Mastering Mathematics series.
“Her death is a huge loss to Kalimpong. Apart from being an educationist, she was also a social worker who worked tirelessly for the poor people,” said Hari Dahal, a teacher of St Philomena’s School.