Loreto nun, Sr. Cyril Mooney, who is from Bray, was welcomed back to her home town last weekend before making her return to Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), where she has been working as a teacher for more than 50 years.
Having received India's highest civil award, the Padma Shri, Sr. Cyril has made it her mission to educate the street children of the poverty-stricken city.
She has brought hundreds of young Irish Volunteers to work in Loreto Sealdah school in Calcutta, to help battle the inhuman conditions in the Indian shanty towns.
The 71-year-old nun was presented with the award by the India's president, A P J Abdul Kalam. The honour is for the entire Loreto Order,' she said.
Sr. Cyril started the Rainbow School Programme in the late 70s when poverty in India inspired her to use education as in instrument of change and empowerment.
The convent schools, previously attended only by the well-off, opened their doors to the poor, helping some 450,000 people to significantly improve their circumstances.
More recently the scope of the programme has been expanded to provide food and shelter for around 1,000 street girls.
Over the course of her visit, Sr. Cyril spoke about her experiences with poor children in India at Mass in the Queen of Peace Church and visited the Loreto school to talk to the students there about life in Kolkata.