On International Women’s Day 2018, as we look to seek out ‘mighty’ women as inspiration, encouragement and torch-bearers for those most in need today, we need look no further than Nano Nagle – a woman for our times.
“Meet a woman whose love was stronger than the viciousness, greed and violence that swamped her city and nation.
She was a woman of unbounded compassion, deep contemplation, indomitable courage, radical creativity, native shrewdness, and indefatigable zeal for her faith.
Challenging the brutal power of her people’s oppression, she spent her life on the ‘razor’s edge of danger’ “.
(Adapted from Salvador Sfink, ofm – ‘Nano Nagle, Cork’s Lady of the Lantern)
Our Presentation story right up to this day (as we celebrate the tercentenary of Nano Nagle’s birth this year) has been created through the energy of the Spirit active in the hearts of Presentation people, who endeavour to discern where the Spirit is leading them in their own lives. This participation in the creative, saving, transforming activity of God in our world, is through the hands and hearts of men and women in their daily lives. They continue the legacy of Nano Nagle, alongside a continual rediscovery of who she is for the world today.
‘Nano became a prophetic, pioneering, courageous voice for people who had been held in the throes of despair and hopelessness, due to intolerable, unjust and oppressive systems. Now entirely at the disposal of God alone, she becomes the Woman of the Lantern, whose words give voice to the voiceless and whose actions beam light into hopeless places. She becomes a wonderful agent of change and transformation for the people of her day, and by the enduring power of her inspiration, for the world to come’.
(Sr. Ann Lyons, pbvm – an extract from The Nano Journey in ‘Praying Our Journey’) *
*(Both quotations above are extracts from ‘Praying Our Journey – A Resource for Prayer & Reflection’ prepared by the Nano Nagle Commission, to mark the Tercentenary of Nano Nagle’s Birth).
(The photo featured is taken from the mural of Nano Nagle that is in ‘Heart Aflame’ – the visitor’s centre located at Mount St. Anne’s Retreat & Conference Centre, Killinard, Portarlington, Co. Laois).