The Christian community on Twitter has been expressing its sorrow but also thanks for Sister Catherine Wybourne who has died from cancer.
Sr Wybourne was a Benedictine nun and prioress at Holy Trinity Monastery in Herefordshire, but was known to the Twittersphere as her handle, @Digitalnun.
She regularly tweeted with humour and wit about the life of a nun and the goings on in the world.
She was suffering from cancer and said in an update last December that she had been told by doctors there was no more they could do for her.
Embracing even her own death with humour, Sr Wybourne wrote at the time, “Catholicism can be a hard religion to live by but is a beautiful religion in which to die.
“The rituals and prayer with which we surround death, especially the monastic ones, the Church’s clear-eyed acceptance of sin and failure and her confidence in her mission to channel God’s love and mercy to her children, are very moving, but perhaps one only begins to appreciate them when one is dying oneself.
“I like, too, the combination of infinite trust in God and the lack of presumption. No zipping into heaven for me but, I hope, the final purification of purgatory.
“In the meantime, I shall be tidying my sock drawer – monastic-speak for preparing to die. Off and on, that is. I’m very good at procrastination.”
Despite her declining health, she was tweeting right to the end. On Thursday morning, just hours before her death, she tweeted her sadness over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Praying for all tweeps. There are no words for the anguish of Ukraine’s invasion and the consequences for all of us. May the Lord have mercy on us all. #Prayer,” she tweeted.
Confirming her death on Thursday, her fellow nuns said that Sr Catherine had died at home in the monastery “in the arms of her community”.
“May she rest in peace,” they said.
In a moving tribute, blogger Archbishop Cranmer wrote, “The most fragrant and blessed Christian presence on social media has entered into paradise. Our heads are bowed; a thousand teardrops mingle with the rain, and the world is a little colder for her passing.”
The Church of England’s refugee coordinator Nadine Daniel wrote, “I am so sad. We held many an digital conversation, and she understood that I loved cats as well as dogs. She was such an inspiration to me. May she Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.”
Bryony Taylor, author of ‘More TV Vicar?’, said, “There’s something about the death of a religious, like @Digitalnun that evokes a feeling of both sadness but also great joy at the resurrection of the dead which is the foundation of our faith. I am crying with a smile on my face. At the grave we make our song: alleluia!”