Sydney Catholic nun among the MH17 dead

A Catholic nun and teacher at eastern Sydney Catholic school Kincoppal-Rose Bay, Sister Philomene Tiernan, is believed to have been one of the passengers on board Malaysia Airlines MH17 when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

Kincoppal principal Hilary Johnston-Croke said staff and students were saddened and shocked by the news of her death.

"She was a beloved, wise and compassionate person loved by all," she said. Hundreds of students and teachers attended an assembly at the school's Rose Bay campus on Friday afternoon to talk about the teacher.

It is understood a number of people spoke about Sister Philomene during the assembly inside the Maureen Tudehope Centre.

Teary colleagues put their arms around each other and hugged as they walked out of afternoon assembly.

A number of teachers were seen consoling a number of students who had just learned of the tragic news.

A spokesman for the NSW Catholic Education Office said Sister Philomene was a relative of a student at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in North Sydney.

"She's a relative of one of the children at the school. She never taught at the school," communications head Mark Rix said.

Mr Rix said the family of Sister Philomene had been informed but did not wish to make any comment to the media.

The story Sydney Catholic nun among the MH17 dead first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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