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Tuesday 15 October 2019

Sr Patricia turns flying nun in leap of faith for depression fight

Caroline Crawford

AN elderly nun took a leap of faith for charity yesterday – jumping 10,000ft from a plane.

Sr Patricia Wall (75), from Ballingarry, Thurles, Co Tipperary, took part in the tandem skydive at Galway airfield to raise funds for Aware.

For years she has been best known as the sister of Tipperary hurling star Tony Wall but yesterday she joked that the five-time All Ireland medal winner would from now on be known as her brother.

"I'm no longer his sister; now, he's my brother," she laughed.

Far from being put off by the adrenaline rush of falling two miles to ground, she has vowed to do it all over again when she is 90. Sr Patricia said she decided to take the leap to raise money for Aware, which assists people battling with depression, and her local family resource centre.

NERVOUS

And she revealed that while her plans may have raised some eyebrows, no one tried to talk her out of it.

"The only thing I had to get was a doctor's cert but thank God I'm very healthy," she said.

It was Sr Patricia's third attempt as adverse weather had thwarted previous jumps. But despite the delays, she insisted she was not nervous.

After landing, she described the skydive as an "amazing" experience, adding: "I need time to recover from that. It was very good, yes." But she admitted there was no time for a quick prayer on the way down. "I was trying to follow all the instructions and enjoy it," she said.

When asked if she felt close to God during her 10,000ft fall, she replied; "I didn't have time to think about God."

Sr Patricia has been a member of the Presentation Order since she was 17.

She revealed how she had battled depression herself while a missionary in New Zealand in the 1960s.

"Hopefully, it will encourage people to go look for help when they need it.

"That's the big message. Nobody should go to the extreme.

"It happened to me in New Zealand and it went on for a year or two but I got help. I was told if I prayed it would solve it all but that didn't happen so you get help and that's the big message," she said.

Sr Patricia has so far raised over €25,000 to date and hopes to add to that in the coming weeks People can contribute via mycharity.ie or through the AIB in Fethard, Co Tipperary; sort code 93-52-04, acc number 23184576.

Irish Independent

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