Sister Philomena was born Christina Lyons in Rahan, Mallow, Co Cork, Ireland in 1932. In 1950, she entered the order of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. She also trained as a primary school teacher in Carysfort Training College, Blackrock, Dublin. She spent six years teaching in New Jersey, in the United States. On returning to Ireland, she taught for 35 years at St Brigid's National School in Ballybay, County Monaghan, close to her convent home.
On December 23rd, 2001, at 8.10 am, she departed the convent to take a trip to Dublin. She was looking forward to celebrating Christmas in another convent with friends. Shortly after breakfast, "in jovial mood", Sister Philomena was accompanied to the gates by the head nun, Sister Aloysius, to catch a bus. She had two small suitcases and a plastic bag, but she forgot her mobile phone charger, so she returned to the convent to get it, leaving Sister Aloysius to mind her luggage. When she got back, she insisted her colleague leave her, because the morning was so cold. Minutes later, she met a care worker outside the convent, who greeted her. The care worker, other than her imminent attacker, was the last person she would see alive. It was around 8.20 am.
Sister Philomena never boarded her bus to Dublin at 8.30 am.
Her body was discovered close to the convent grounds early that evening, just after 5 pm, by a member of the Irish police force, alerted by staff members and friends of Philomena when they became increasingly concerned for her welfare.
A Radio Espial Special: What follows is the true crime account of the sinister murder of Sister Philomena Lyons and a young predator in the making.