Since the Presentation Order arrived in Millstreet in 1840 the Sisters have so very generously provided all-important education at both Primary and Post-Primary level for generations of Millstreet people and beyond. (The very fact that I can type this section of our Millstreet website is entirely thanks to the late Sr. Assisi Fitzgerald, a Presentation Sister from Tralee who spent her religious life in Millstreet Convent and who was a true expert in teaching the art of typing!) Their influence has been enormous on our local community as they shared the Christian vision of their renowned foundress, Nano Nagle.
Our pictures relate to a special commemorative day in the 1980s at Ballygriffin near Mallow, the home of Nano Nagle.
We also view Sr. Celestine near the portrait of Nano.
In 1993 the “Cork Examiner” took the picture of the Millstreet Presentation Community as they watched Niamh Kavanagh win the Eurovision Song Contest.
We extend our heartfelt best wishes to the Presentation Community on the Order’s Feast Day which in on Sunday, 21st November, 2004.
We thank Sr. Mercedes for the following text which provides an excellent insight into the spirit of the Presentation Order:
A Little Girl Grew Here
A little girl grew here
For her, brownstone house was home,
Its fireside love and peace.
The blossoming hedgerows sang freedom,
The rivers told stories of places far away,
While beyond, dreaming mountains called.
(R. Consedine 1983)
Nano Nagle, foundress of the Presentation Congregation
on 24th December, 1775
Nano belongs to Ballygriffin, Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland. We know that she was born there in 1718, the eldest child in a family of seven of Garrett and Ann Nagle. We remember them now. A plaque marks the place where their home stood, looking out on the very beautiful landscape. It is easy to believe that Nano would have been such a child of wonder as she played there and touched, tasted and smelled the various creations of the natural world around her. It takes little effort to discover that, in the gentle care of her parents, she knew the happiness of childhood and by them she was taught to take her first steps in the love of God (T.J. Walsh). She was of an exuberant, enthusiastic disposition, which proved too much for her mother sometimes! Her father had other thoughts and declared emphatically “Poor Nano will be a saint yet” (Coppinger 1974). It was in Ballygriffin also that Nano was nurtured through the uncertainties, sorrows, risks and dangers of 18th Century Ireland. Must not a seed of grief have taken root in her heart, grief that even one of God’s children should be oppressed, deprived or hungry?
Who are you, little girl Nano?
What will you make of your inheritance?
Where will your heart find its pathway?
The seed sown in Ballygriffin and bearing abundant fruit later in her life, attracted Nano totally to the person of Jesus and revealed how sensitively and deeply affected she became by the awful situation of poverty of people around her. Dr. Coppinger (1784) wrote of her: “In her schools, ever laborious, patient, vigilant and judicious, she studied the dispositions of her pupils, the degree of capacity they possessed; she adapted her instructions accordingly; she watched their countenances which long experience had taught her to read, and proceed or turned back, or explained or repeated, as she found them impressed by what she said”. What great gentleness and compassion from a heart with its roots in her Ballygriffin childhood experience! Her way of relating to the children expresses the spirit of a woman aware of God’s love being poured into the hearts of all people by the Holy Spirit.
Presentation Sisters went “to the ends of the Earth” and responded to basic human problems. Nano died on 26th April, 1784. She had led such a life that it can only be done justice to by saying that it was the Gospels perfectly translated to practice.
Let us continue to pray for her Canonization one day.