DUBLIN — The Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary expressed shock following the Aug. 14 drowning of two members of their order.

Sister Imelda Carew, 67, a provincial leader, and Sister Paula Buckley, 70, drowned after getting into difficulty swimming in shallow waters at a popular beach in County Kerry, in southwestern Ireland.

An Aug. 15 statement from the Union of Presentation Sisters said the two nuns from Dublin were on vacation "and got into difficulties during an early evening swim at Inch Strand."

The coast guard rescued them at 7 p.m. They were pronounced dead after being airlifted to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee.

A coast guard official said water conditions at Inch Strand at the time were "quite good for swimming."

Sister Mary Deane, Presentation sisters' congregational leader, said in an Aug. 15 statement, "Words seem inadequate to express our loss and sorrow as we come to terms with the tragic events that unfolded on a beautiful sunny evening."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, communities and friends of our beloved sisters at this time," she said.

Sister Buckley was due to celebrate 50 years in religious life Aug. 17. In recent years, she had been involved in prison ministry in Dublin. Before that, she was a teacher and guidance counselor in secondary schools run by her order.

For many years, Sister Carew taught in Presentation schools and was very active in justice ministry. She was provincial leader of the southeast province in Ireland up to the time of her death.