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1924 – A devastating year for Tom Crean

The years since Tom Crean’s retirement had not been kind to him yet 1924 was one that would bring about devastating losses from which true recovery would never be possible even for a man famed for overcoming difficulties and barriers..

The hardships Tom Crean overcame over the course of three expeditions to the most inhospitable place on our planet, would pale into insignificance compared to the suffering he would endure in 1924.

On September 15th, Crean’s mother Catherine died. She was 85 years old and Tom Crean signed her death certificate. Just two weeks after losing his mother, Tom Crean would set out on the most important mission of his life.

1924 - A devastating year for Tom Crean Tom Crean BookHis second daughter, Kathleen Eileen Crean, had suffered from illness throughout her short life and on 29th September, 1924, Crean and his wife Ellen joined 5,000 pilgrims on the Second  Irish National Pilgrimage in an effort to discover whether their strong Catholic faith could cure their young daughter. Ever since Bernadette Soubirous, a young French girl, from Lourdes, a small town located at the foothills of the Pyrenees, had experienced a Marian apparition in 1858, a spring sited where the visitation had occurred was deemed miraculous because of the number of cures that later occurred there.

It was hoped that the holy waters would cure his young daughter of her suffering yet sadly it wasn’t to be.

Shortly after their return to Ireland, young Kate passed away on 8th December 1924. A week earlier she had contracted a fatal bout of broncho-pneumonia The death certificate records her age as being just 3-years-old.

It would be a loss from which any parents, all of whom fully expected their children to outlive them, would weigh down on them for the rest of their lives.

For all his disappointments and loss of loved ones, nothing could prepare Tom Crean for the loss of his child.

To discover more about Tom Crean, the book can be purchased here