Nano Nagle on the road to sainthood

Nano Nagle

Nano Nagle

The Presentation Sisters around the world and all those involved with them are today celebrating the official announcement of the declaration of the Order’s founder, Nano Nagle, as Venerable.  This announcement brings the Canonisation of Nano Nagle one step closer as it is the second of four stages in the Canonisation Process.

Speaking today, Head of the Congregation Leadership Team for the Presentation Sisters, Mary Deane, said: “We are delighted with the news. 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 Friends of Nano throughout the world, Nano 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 the spirit of Nano.”

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 Presentation Congregation areas across the world to mark the occasion.

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 was 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.  Nano Nagle is 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 those made 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 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 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.

For more information see the Presentation Sisters report:

and the Nano Nagle Centre:

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