Event Calendar

A Cork Hero Honoured at a Ceremony in Béthune, France

A Cork Hero Honoured at a Ceremony in Béthune, France


The "Béthune rend hommage aux combattantes de l’ombre" ceremony took place in northern France on 24th May. It was organized by the Mayor of Béthune City and his elected representatives, in the presence of Hannah E. Twomey, Consul of Ireland to Paris, and Alliance Française de Cork President Valérie David-McGonnell.

This event paid tribute to four French, Belgian and Irish members of the French Resistance who served the cause of the liberation of France in the city of Béthune during WWII, including Cork Franciscan Sister, Kate McCarthy, aka Sr Marie Laurence, whose relatives travelled from Ireland to attend the ceremony. A large crowd attended the ceremony. A delegation of French Franciscan sisters were also present.

Born in 1895 in Drimoleague, County Cork, Sr Marie Laurence worked as a nurse at the Béthune Hospital during the First and Second World Wars. In 1940, she joined the "Musée de l’Homme" Resistance network. She was arrested by the Gestapo in June 1941, imprisoned and deported. She was released from the Ravensbrück concentration camp in April 1945. After the war, Sr Marie Laurence returned to Ireland. She was awarded several medals by France: the "Médaille commémorative française de la guerre 1939-1945" and the silver "Médaille de la reconnaissance française". She later became Mother Superior of the Honan Home in Cork. She died in 1971.

During her speech at the Béthune ceremony, Valérie David-McGonnell announced that, in the autumn, one of our classrooms will be renamed in memory of Sr Marie Laurence.


AF de Cork President Valerie David-McGonnell, with Béthune City Mayor Olivier Gacquerre, Deputy Mayor Maryse Bertoux, and Deputy Director of Culture and Events Sandrine Donchez.
AF de Cork President Valérie David-McGonnell with Béthune City Mayor Olivier Gacquerre, Deputy Mayor Maryse Bertoux, and Deputy Director of Culture and Events Sandrine Donchez.
 Alliance Française de Cork President Valérie David-McGonnell with relatives of Sr Marie Laurence: her niece Sr Breda McCarthy, and her grandnieces Caitriona Hayes & Siobhan Sheils.
AF de Cork President with relatives of Sr Marie Laurence: her niece Sr Breda McCarthy, and her grandnieces Caitriona Hayes & Siobhan Sheils.

Article in French: https://lepetitjournal.com/dublin/une-irlandaise-honoree-en-france-pour-sa-bravoure-pendant-la-seconde-guerre-mondiale-387029?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR2qK4w75Uo9llOb4LGtPHA-fFCwpqDXnPCyrmN5NASdNX78m07jW0HDNvw_aem_AUZVlzS1JCBlzy04fZroLvbFKFARXAuOusdN_IHIhgx4prRhTzkHQey4bj5WIpcQI6z7Q0ngNVj_YXGGv0SgJN8M

Article in English: https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-41408468.html