In 2003 I left Ireland for Chennai in India, to live in Perambur among the Anglo-Indian community and volunteer as a teacher at The Little Lambs School. Although Sr Loreto, a Presentation nun from Co Tipperary now aged 91, was living close by, it was three months before we met.
In 1943, 16-year-old Peg Houlihan had left her rural farmhouse in Tinhalla near Carrick-An-Suir in Co Tipperary. She became a Presentation Sister noviciate in the UK before departing for the distant shores of India. Her ship set sail from Liverpool to Bombay as the second World War was drawing to a close, and she celebrated her 17th birthday on board.
During that journey and its many blackouts, Sr Loreto bravely looked forward - spending a lot of time on the ship learning the ancient Tamil language, the beautiful letters which she has never forgotten.