Let's hear it for Father Benny Fee and the parish of Clonoe in Co. Tyrone near Coalisland which gave a decent Christian burial last weekend to Catherine Burns, departed from this earth 183 years ago.

Father Fee and his flock took Catherine as one of their own. Now she lies in consecrated ground, a far cry from the unmarked grave where she lay near Duffy's Cut in Pennsylvania all those long years.

Catherine was murdered, as were 57 of her fellow Irish men and women, after they were wrongly blamed for a cholera outbreak soon after they arrived in America.

Catherine had only been here six weeks when she and her fellow Irish workers became scapegoats and were murdered by local mobs that destroyed their shanty town and threw the deceased into a common grave.

Catherine had left Tyrone, location unknown, to begin a new life in America in 1832. Yet all she found was a horrific death.

We know she was a widow and that life had been already tough for her, but what she and the other Irish faced at Duffy’s Cut was truly horrible.

Thanks to two wonderful American brothers and another academic, we know her story and that of the 57 who died.

They were hired as laborers building a new railway line near Malvern, PA. The place became known as Duffy’s Cut. These days it is a suburb of Philadelphia.

Malvern's Immaculata University professor Bill Watson, his twin brother Frank, a Lutheran minister, and fellow Immaculata professor Earl Schandelmeier began the Duffy's Cut archival and research project. They have done an incredible job.

The three were with Catherine on her journey home to Tyrone and attended her wake and the funeral in Clonoe.

In inspirational remarks Father Fee thanked them for the "courtesy and respect they have shown our Tyrone Catherine. Now there's no fear, no terror for Catherine anymore."

He added, "You have brought Catherine back from her exile to her native pastures. She is home.”

It was a long way from the shanty town where Catherine lived to the funeral in Clonee where locals turned out in their hundreds for a dignified burial with pipe and drum and pastor.

There are up to 50 bodies still resting in that mass grave, and it will be almost impossible to identify them, though we know their names.

Here is what Irish America and the Irish government should do: excavate the grave, bring all the remains back to Ireland and bury them in sacred ground with a monument as an acknowledgment of what they suffered after leaving their native soil.

We could do nothing more fitting.