Presentation Sisters’ Foundress declared Venerable

By Sarah Mac Donald - 01 November, 2013

1,200 members of the congregation around the world celebrate Irishwoman's step towards canonisation.

Nano NagleThe Foundress of the Presentation Sisters, Nano Nagle, has been declared Venerable by Pope Francis. 

The announcement brings a declaration of sainthood a step closer as her life of ‘heroic virtue’ is now officially acknowledged by the Vatican. This is the second of four stages in the canonisation process.

Presentation Sisters around the world and all those involved with them on Thursday celebrated the good news.

The head of the Presentation Sisters’ Congregational Leadership Team, Mary Deane, responded to the announcement by saying they were “delighted.”

“By proclaiming Nano Nagle as Venerable, the universal Church has recognised Nano as a  woman of faith, hope and heroic virtue whose vision and work transformed the lives of so many.”

“For our Sisters, associates and the friends of Nano Nagle throughout the world, she has been and continues to be a source of inspiration and challenge as we respond to the needs of today in fidelity to the Gospel and in her spirit.”

A celebratory Mass to mark the announcement will take place in Cork in November and a series of smaller events will take place across Ireland and in the Presentation Congregation’s areas across the world. 

Nano Nagle was born Honora Nagle in Ballygriffin in Cork in 1718, a turbulent time in Irish history due to the penal laws. 

The Nagle family were a wealthy Catholic family and Nano had the benefit of a European education and privileged lifestyle. 

She devoted her life to God and to working with people on the margins of society. 

She is renowned as one of the great pioneers of Catholic education in Ireland. 

Her mission of educating the poor began in a ‘little school’ in Cove Lane in Cork in 1754.

In setting up schools in defiance of the established colonial order, she sided with the poor and challenged the institutional injustice that perpetuated marginalisation and poverty. 

Nano responded to the needs of her time and developed an educational curriculum suitable to the individual capabilities of her students.

Hers was a global vision as in 1769 she wrote to a friend:

“For I can assure you my schools are beginning to be of service to a great many parts of the world – this is a place of such trade – they heard of, and my views are not for one object alone.  If I could be of service in saving souls in any part of the globe I would be willing to do all in my power.”

Nano’s words proved to be prophetic as her efforts led to the introduction of a network of schools across Ireland and the world.  

She founded the congregation later known as the Presentation Sisters on Christmas Eve 1775, the culmination of 20 years of a life of devotion to the cause of improving the circumstances of others. 

She died in Cork in 1784 and she is buried in the grounds of South Presentation Convent in Cork city in a location which has become a place of prayer and pilgrimage in her honour.

To this day, Presentation Sisters and friends of Nano Nagle remain committed to working with those most in need through a broad range of ministries.

Those ministries include spirituality and faith development, lifelong learning and innovation, social finance, social inclusion and outreach, human rights and justice, ecology and sustainable living and healthcare projects.

A more detailed biography of Nano Nagle’s life is available by clicking here:  http://www.presentationsistersunion.org/aboutus/default.cfm?loadref=130

The Union of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Catholic religious congregation founded by Nano Nagle and dedicated to the mission of Jesus.

Presentation Sisters are called to follow Christ in the spirit of Nano Nagle, bringing the good news to the poor by promoting God’s kingdom of truth and goodness, justice, love and peace.

The Presentation Sisters Union represents Presentation Sisters in a variety of locations across the world. 

The Congregational Leadership Team is based in Monasterevin, Ireland.

There are units in Africa, England, India, Latin America, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Slovakia, Thailand and the USA.

The Union represents almost 1,200 Sisters in various missions around the globe.  More than half of these sisters, approximately 650, are based in Ireland. 

The average age of the congregation is 70.

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