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Expressions of life & ministry

Warrenmount Community Education Centre

Warrenmount Community Education Centre

Image courtesy of Warrenmount Education Centre


Warrenmount Community Education Centre aims to meet the needs of the local community by building confidence and developing skills. Learning in the Centre is person–centred and informal.

Our History

When Warrenmount Centre opened its doors in 1995 it was not possible to visualise or consider what it might look like twenty and more years later. From small beginnings it now holds its place in the local area, nationally and internationally, as a model of good practice in community education.  Today’s adult learners attending classes at the Centre have modern facilities in comfortable, warm rooms with up to date IT equipment.

Our Place

The Centre is located in the Liberties area of Dublin 8, close to Newmarket Square and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Just off Mill Street, the building we are in dates from the late 17th / early 18th century and was home to Nathaniel Warren who became High Sheriff of Dublin 1773-1774 and later Lord Mayor 1782-1783. He named his residence “Warrenmount”. In 1813 Warrenmount was acquired and the house transformed into a Carmelite convent, St. Teresa’s, and a school for girls was opened.

In 1889 the Carmelites asked the Pope for permission to return to full contemplative life which was agreed. Their wish, however, was that the school should not be abandoned but should be handed over to a community of Irish nuns. In 1892 the Carmelites said good-bye to their monastery of Saint Teresa at Warrenmount and the following day seven Sisters from Presentation Convent Clondalkin came to Warrenmount.

The Presentation Sisters moved into a new convent building on the grounds in 2008, and in 2011 the house, where Warrenmount Community Education Centre is located, was completely renovated. Today’s adult learners attending classes at the Centre have modern facilities in comfortable, warm rooms with up to date IT equipment.

“Nano Nagle recognised education and lifelong learning as a cornerstone of enabling transformation of all, especially those on the margins of society. Almost 250 years since she began her pioneering work in her schools, education and learning projects are still an intrinsic focus of Presentation Sisters’ ministry across the globe”.

The Mission Statement of the Centre:

“[…]…we aim to meet the needs of the local community by creating opportunities, building confidence and developing skills.  We do this through a learning style that is person-centred, participative and informal. Through this, we hope to give people a voice enabling them to create a better society.  Guided by the charism of the Presentation Congregation the Centre is committed to providing an open, friendly, welcoming atmosphere where people are respected and valued”.

Sr. Pauline McGaley (Director of the Centre) speaks about Warrenmount Community Education as being above all a community of learners, where staff, tutors, volunteers and students interact and are interdependent. They contribute equally to the life of the Centre and the local community.  The Centre’s holistic approach caters for a wide variety of student needs, acknowledging that there is no single route to learning and achieving. While responding to learners’ needs, the Centre continues to ensure the quality of its programmes and methods, through staff development and in-service training.

At each stage of its history it has been responsive and proactive in adapting and developing to address the educational needs of learners as reflected in the key challenges of society around them.  In the increasingly diverse society that is Ireland today, there is recognition that the problems encountered by those who come to our country under difficult political and economic circumstances, can be aggravated by the inability to communicate. But language is not the only barrier.  Lack of understanding, tolerance and respect for difference are serious concerns.

This diverse society is reflected in the student demographic of the Centre, where in 2018, there where people from 60 countries attending classes there.  The staff team is also reflective of the cultural diversity in society.

Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a reality at the Centre. They are seen as a way to invite people to ‘think global and act local’ to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. The Centre recognises in its practice the enormous potential for communities to move this agenda forward at a local level.

“I think it’s the place where you can start to believe in yourself again.  An opportunity to get better… to do something new… make a change in your life.”


“Warrenmount will give you 100% support but you have to be willing to learn and put your heart into it. The Centre has given me a life that I enjoy. My children now have a good role model that they can be proud of”.

Sr. Pauline McGaley, (Director of the Centre) in their 2018 Annual Report says:

 ‘[…] we consistently evaluate our courses to ensure they meet the education and learning needs of our community. In these times of almost full employment on a national level there are still many people in need of upskilling in our local area and every effort is made to ensure our courses address this need. […] Reflecting on the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the United Nations, we recognise our contribution and possibilities for ongoing development.  These goals can only be realised through the commitment and goodwill of the community here in Warrenmount Centre. We appreciate the involvement and enormous contribution of our staff, tutors and volunteers’.

The vibrancy of the Centre is testimony to this contribution.

Pauline ends by saying: “Together we can make a better world for our learners and the wider local community”.

The ‘open door’ to learning

Sr. Pauline McGaley, Director of Warrenmount Community Education Centre.

Sr. Pauline McGaley and the students and volunteers participating in the weekly Fáilte Isteach programme at Warrenmount Community Education Centre (see image) were interviewed for the RTE morning    Radio Programme broadcast with Sean O’Rourke.

In the programme Pauline (who is CEO of Warrenmount Education Centre) talks about the development of the Centre over the last 25 years, about its roots in Presentation life as well as the about the tremendous value of the Fáilte Isteach programme for the various students who attend. In fact, the sheer diversity of the nationalities of the students who avail of classes at the Centre, Pauline says, mean it often feels like the United Nations.

You can listen to the programme HERE

To find out more about all that goes on at Warrenmount Community Education Centre  on the website link below.



Challenge 2 Change

Challenge 2 Change


Challenge to Change (C2C) is a development education project aimed at young people attending primary and post-primary  schools of Presentation ethos. It seeks to raise awareness, to bring about a greater understanding of global inequality and to allow young people see the impact of a changing global environment. It empowers students to explore ways in which their actions at local level can impinge for the better on issues such as injustice, human rights, fair trade, racism and exploitation.

The Vision of the project is driven by the Presentation charism and ethos.  Justice, human rights, sustainability and promoting right relationships are central to the Presentation mission.

Participation by  the students and the wider community in C2C projects brings about a heightened awareness, a social consciousness, a broader vision and an appreciation of development issues.

Challenge2Change ~ Are you ready?

A 2019 C2C Project on display.

It is that time of year again when schools are busily engaging with their Challenge2Change (C2C) projects for 2019/2010.

Thirty-seven schools have responded to this year’s invitation to make a difference and ensure no one is left behind.  These young people are not only challenging us to make changes in various aspects of life but they are also showing us how this might be done.  It is easy to talk about injustices but it is takes courage and perseverance to stand up and be counted, and take action to redress unjust situations.

Once again the primary and secondary schools have focused their projects on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Not surprisingly, Climate Action features prominently but goals 2, 3, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 are also addressed.  Students are joining in the world-wide action of    International Presentation Association (IPA)  and other development agencies to highlight what we can do to make a difference.

Our annual seminars planned for the 6th May 2020 in the Tullamore Court Hotel, and the 13th May 2020 in the Springhill Court Hotel in Kilkenny have now been cancelled due to the current circumstances, in line with Government & Health Service Executive (HSE) recommendations and the unfolding situation.

At this event students and teachers share their C2C experience present the  great work being done by the schools.

There is no charge for attending the seminars but booking in advance to facilitate the practical organisation of each seminar is required.

Please contact: Sr. Margaret Mary Healy preseduc@eircom.net or Sr. Evelyn Byrne evelynbyrnepl@gmail.com.

Sr. Margaret Mary Healy

Challenge2Change update March 2019

This year is the fifteenth successive year of C2C. Involvement in Challenge to Change is one practical way of making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) real.

C2C are delighted to welcome 35 schools to the project this year. These projects represent hard work and engagement on the SDG’s and issues of justice, human rights and sustainability by students exploring how local actions can have a global impact.

Your projects this year are truly amazing in their variety and in the clever ways you have found to get your message out to the rest of us.  And what important messages they are!! You are not only learning, but you are also teaching the rest of us some very important facts.

The 2019 Seminars were on Wednesday 8th May and 15th May.  These seminars are always a great opportunity to see the work and to engage directly with students and teachers.

To get a flavour of the 2018-2019 projects see the Challenge to Change Update Magazine below:





Mount Saint Anne’s

Mount Saint Anne’s



Icon of Nano Nagle – Mount St. Anne’s (Image: Oonagh O’Brien)

Mount Saint Anne’s is a Retreat and Conference Centre founded by the Presentation Sisters in Ireland.

As Presentation Sisters, we are committed to a spirituality of being in communion that seeks God in the interconnectedness of all life and nurtures a longing to create a more compassionate, just and sustainable world.

Nano Nagle, our Foundress, led a deeply spiritual life. Her faith sustained her in her life of service.  Here at Mount Saint Anne’s we offer a range of opportunities for individuals and groups to take time out for reflection and to deepen their understanding of the movement of the Spirit in their lives; time to explore how they too can live life in all its fullness.

Faith has been described as ‘a love of truth, a personal dedication to truth, and a practical living out of life according to the truth’.  We strive to create the conditions where individuals and groups can be quiet and open their hearts to the silent presence of the spirit.

The life of faith, of Christian faith in particular, is as much about being able to ask the big questions of life and being able to live with the ambiguities as it is about having answers to the troubling questions of existence.” – Dermot Lane

At Mount Saint Anne’s, here in the heart of the midlands, you will discover a Treasure.

When you come through the early nineteenth-century doors you will experience a serenity that disperses all else. If you need to get away from the strains and stresses of everyday life, Mount Saint Anne’s offers a wonderful opportunity.

We all need time to ourselves, times of silence where we can get in touch with our deepest selves. The very special surroundings here at Mount Saint Anne’s help to bring about renewal. Take a walk through the trees and let your thoughts unfold in the silence. Or, if you feel the need, you will find a listening ear among us.

See below, to view the Programme for 2019-2020 at Mount St. Anne’s.





Mount St. Anne’s
Retreat and Conference Centre, Killenard, Portarlington, Co. Laois.

Telephone: +353 (0)57 8626153
Email: secretary@mountstannes.com
Sat Nav: N53° 07.656’   W007° 08.772’


9.00 a.m. to 17.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.


Telephone enquiries should be made between 9.00 a.m. and 17.00 p.m. Monday to Friday only.



Nano Nagle Place

Nano Nagle Place

Photo: Nano Nagle Heritage Centre, Cork courtesy of Nano Nagle Place.


Seven years ago the buildings of the South Presentation Convent were in a perilous position. As the area around the convent changed, the need for the school complex the site housed declined and the school closed its doors in 2006. Most of the buildings, some over 200 years old, sat empty with just a few resident sisters to maintain them.

The Presentation Sisters had to plan for the future. With so many listed buildings housed upon it, the site was of little development value. What was to be done?

The Presentation Sisters decided to act, just as their foundress had done nearly two hundred and fifty years before. They set up a company, appointed a voluntary board, and put in place plans to redevelop ‘South Pres’ as a special place for the people of Cork City.

The heritage buildings have been lovingly regenerated, they now house educational charities and rooms are also available to let by community groups, charities and local businesses. The chapel has been turned into a heritage centre that engagingly tells the story of Nano Nagle and the city in which she worked to educate and care for the poor. It allows the visitor to explore the incredible spread of the Presentation Order, the changing lives of the sisters who have dedicated their lives to that order and the remarkable work they still carry out as educationalists and campaigners for social justice. Come and visit Nano Nagle Place, get involved and become part of our story.

Nano Nagle Place is a winner!

(Image: courtesy of Nano Nagle Place Website)

Nano Nagle Place (NNP) was always going to make its mark on the social, community and cultural life around it (true to its roots) as the birthplace of the Presentation Sisters Congregation, founded by Ireland’s global social pioneer and activist, Nano Nagle.

The heritage centre in NNP engagingly describes life in 18th century Cork before going on to explore the story of how Nano Nagle worked tirelessly to help and educate the poor of the city.  Visitors can also interactively discover how the Presentation Congregation she founded has travelled across the globe, her legacy continuing to the present day, locally and globally.

Work on the redevelopment of the historic 18th century site of the South Presentation Convent and School was completed and in 2017 opening its doors to the public for the first time.

The campus 

The wider campus of Nano Nagle Place now houses an impressive heritage centre, tranquil gardens and Nano Nagle’s tomb.

It also has a design shop, education spaces, the Lantern Project and Cork Migrants Centre inclusion projects, a small resident community of Presentation Sisters, and the regenerated 1779 convent building which now holds the archive of the Presentation Congregation.

The Good Deli located in the tranquil gardens is a Sustainable Foods Deli serving a mix of healthy, local, seasonal, organic and fair trade foods with a     commitment to sustainability throughout the food chain, and of course offers   hospitality that is ‘second to none’!

Recognition for ‘what they do’ so well

The restoration and redevelopment of the South Pres convent, grounds and schools literally transformed the South Parish district of Cork city, and this was recognised at the outset when Nano Nagle Place received the Judges Choice Award as part Cork Business Association (CBA) Cork Better Buildings Awards in 2018 with  the complex of buildings (dating from the 1770’s to the present day) mentioned as having been conserved and reimagined to best conservation practice with some wonderful examples of Irish contemporary design.

2019 –What a year !

(Image: Courtesy of Nano Nagle Place media).

This year Cork City won the ‘friendliest place’ title at the Retail Excellence Ireland Awards for their work in developing a customers charter for the city.  As part of the Award process local authorities across the country nominated local retail businesses for the Retail Excellence Awards and the businesses were then independently assessed on their friendliness.  As result, Nano Nagle Place won the ‘Best Visitor Store’ in 2019.  The store comprises a bookshop, map room and print gallery.

Meanwhile, the Good Day Deli was crowned the overall winner at the Junior Chamber Ireland (JCI) Cork Friendliest Business Awards for Community Impact in 2019. They were the stand-out winner for the title when the nominees from across Cork were ‘mystery shopped’ and judged by a panel of judges earlier this summer.

In addition, Nano Nagle Place was also a finalist in the Junior Chamber Ireland (JCI) Family Friendly Ireland Awards.

Congratulations to Shane Clarke (CEO) and all the team at Nano Nagle Place—staff, volunteers, projects and services.





Churchfield Community Trust

Churchfield Community Trust

Churchfield Community Trust



The Churchfield Community Trust began life in September 1994 as a community project set up in Gurranabraher, Cork on behalf of young people at risk in their local area.

It was called ‘The Presentation Family Community Project’ a collaboration between Presentation Sisters and Brothers, and Christian Brothers in  response to need. Today Presentation Sisters and Brothers are no longer involved in the day to day running of the Churchfield project which is now entirely staffed by lay people. However, what has remained constant is the underlying caring philosophy, supported by the trustees of the three founding congregations.

If you look at the core objectives of today’s service you get some idea of the extent and breadth of support available to the those who use it. The work of the staff, volunteers and service users at the Trust is about contributing to the creation of safer communities through:

  • reduction in recidivism;
  • reintegration of offenders;
  • creation of sustainable employment opportunities;
  • provision of strategic addiction interventions
  • and development of pathways to adult education and training opportunities.

All of this made possible by collaboration with a wide range of key statutory and voluntary agencies.

The take up

In 2018 the Churchfield Community Trust engaged with 260 participants, providing 336 individual therapeutic interventions and managing 215 addiction counselling referrals and 138 group work sessions. Those who use the programmes and services provided by the Trust come with a wide range of complex needs in relation to homelessness, addiction, offending behaviour, mental health, unemployment and educational deficits, among other life challenges.

The underlying ethos of the Trust means that before anything else it recognises the importance of relationship building to initiate change in the lives of the people it works with.  Indeed, Positive Peer Support was highlighted as an important factor that emerged from a piece of research carried out by University College Cork’s Community Research Links (CARL) on the work of the Trust. A Peer Support Education Programme (with a specific emphasis on the mental health area of suicide prevention) was provided for participants by the Trust during 2018.

The supports

Personal development is a key component of everything the Trust provides, as many of the participants need to make changes in their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, and this can only happen as a result of the allocation of space and time for reflection and development.  The focus is very much person-centred and individual programmes are put in place in partnership with each participant according to their needs.  Care is taken to make respectful interventions and to foster   personal responsibility, and are based on open and honest communication at all times.

The vital partnerships

The Churchfield Community Trust provides its effective service in partnership with a number of key statutory agencies: the Probation Service, The Irish Prison Service, Cork Education and Training Board and the Health Service Executive.

Today the Trust offers training, work and enterprise skills with a particular focus on Adult Education, Woodwork, Painting and Horticulture. It bridges gaps in formal   education through the provision of Computer Skills, Cookery and Literacy classes.  Sport and Leisure Activities are also included as they help in the development of ways of managing free in a healthy and enjoyable way.

Wonderful social initiatives

The Growing Initiative

A collaboration with Cork City Council   during 2018 as part of Atlantic Social Lab (a 30-month EU funded project) had the aim of developing and promoting social innovation as a way of addressing social challenges. This resulted in:

The Garden Café—a live café environment that provides mentoring and training for those interested in progressing employment in the catering industry.

Compass Crafts—who design and produce garden furniture, play park items and crèche furniture in a workshop environment focusing on pre-apprenticeship skills.

The Growing Initiative—supplies Cork  University Hospital, Elbow Lane Restaurant and The Garden Café with fresh produce such as salad leaves, seasonal vegetables and fresh herbs.

The Churchfield Community Trust has continued to establish a positive working relationship with education providers such as Cork Education and Training Board, Adult Basic Literacy Service and Social Innovation Fund Ireland in order to improve educational outcomes for those experiencing educational disadvantage.

During 2018 the Trust has supported a significant number of participants who have returned to continuing adult education at Third Level, in disciplines such as Addiction Studies, Community Development and Health Studies. (Thirty-three participants engaged in continuing education; 27 engaged in employment schemes and 7 progressed to full-time employment).

The governance and funding

A Board of Management has been in place since 1999 to guide and support the working of the project.  They in turn link in with CCT trustees through the Chairperson.  A company was formed with a Board of Directors and members rather than a Board of management and trustees.  Core funding is currently provided by The Probation Service, Cork ETB, Health Service Executive (CUH Initiative and Health Action Zone), as well as by the HSE Section 39 & Outreach grants.       Other costs are met principally by Cork City Council, Cork City Partnership, the Irish Prison Service, a North Side Community Enterprises (NCE) Grant, the Social      Innovation Fund (Ireland) and other miscellaneous donations. Income is also generated by the CCT Enterprises Property.

Development signposts

A Board of Management has been in place since 1999 to guide and support the working of the project. They in turn link in with our trustees through the Chairperson.

  • 1996 – Purchase of 109 Knockfree Ave.
  • October 2004 – Purchase of 107 Knockfree Ave.
  • 2004 – Renovation of 107 and 109 Knockfree Ave.
  • 2004 – Building of Work Shop.
  • 2007 – Official Opening of Extended premises by Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Cork Donal Counihan.
  • 2008 – Development of extensive Garden Project.
  • 2008 – Building of Glass house Garden Area.
  • 2008 – Opening of Garden Café Training Restaurant under licence from Cork City Council.
  • 2012 – Continous development of Garden Cafe Project.
  • 2016- Merger with Gratton project community based organisation.
  • 2016- Development of workshop premises at Ballyvolane Business Park.
  • 2016- Development of Outreach support programme in Conjunction with H.S.E.
  • 2017- Development of gender specific initiative for women as part of The Garden Café Initiative.
  • 2019 – Development of integrated Horticulture training area.
  • 2019 – Commercial Electricity Supply (ESB) installation at The Garden Café.
  • 2019 – Development of Furniture Display Area.



Tara Centre

Tara Centre

Tara Centre About

The Tara Centre, Omagh was founded in 1996 on the conviction that a radical new vision is needed for humanity and its relationship to the Cosmos.

Many people in Northern Ireland are seeking to build a society which encourages a sense of the sacred in all aspects of life, where diversity can be experienced as enrichment and pain as the raw material of deep personal transformation. They are wondering whether and how to invest their own lives in making a difference.

Inspired by a vision of global awareness, the Tara Centre provides a safe, nurturing environment in which:  

  • to heal and transcend pain and trauma;
  • to bring hope to those in despair;
  • to build an inclusive community of peace and reconciliation;
  • to support those who seek to free themselves from the poverty trap and its negative consequences
  • to educate beyond narrow, divisive, tribal loyalties
  • to educate towards a deep, active and enlightened awareness of this amazing universe of which humanity forms an integral part.

The holistic philosophy which informs the Tara Centre’s vision encourages intellectual enquiry and shapes a wide range of healing and life-enhancing initiatives. These are experienced in the caring environment of a healing community and a warm welcoming building where the entire ethos breathes respect.

At the Tara Centre, people often find a new direction for their lives. They come in touch with deep inner resources, and are reminded that there are others who share their values about life and its meaning, and find inspiration in a communal quest.



Clann Credo - a Social Bank

Clann Credo - a Social Bank

Social Bank About

Clann Credo, is a social bank established by the Presentation Sisters  in 1996.   To date (2019) Clann Credo has provided €120 million in Community Loan Finance to more than 1000 projects over the past 23 years, creating and sustaining thousands of jobs and strengthening communities nationwide.

By its own description, Clan Credo is “the leading provider of social finance to community-based projects in Ireland”. It is a not-for-profit organisation that “provides repayable finance to community and voluntary organisations and charities that find it difficult to access funding from mainstream financial institutions. All projects are evaluated on their potential to make a social as well as a financial return.”

Sister Magdalen Fogarty has been a real visionary, Paul O’Sullivan CEO of Clann Credo said. He added that she had worldwide responsibility for the finances of the Presentation order. “In that role, she started wondering how can we make sure that finance is working for justice and equity so she set up Clann Credo to do it directly herself,” he told KCLR News.

“Twenty three years ago a radical new concept began to percolate through Ireland’s community and voluntary sector, one that has challenged the conventional way of thinking ever since. Like all great ideas it was deceptively simple, and worked by pressing finance into service as an agent of social justice and social transformation,” the Presentation sisters stated.

Waterford-born Sr Magdalen Fogarty and the Presentation Order grasped this potential. With their support, ‘Clann Credo, Community Loan Finance’ was established and since then other religious congregations have joined Clann Credo as social investors. Clann Credo is now the leading provider of social finance in Ireland.

The finance provided has helped all aspects of community life throughout the country. It has also enhanced the lives of thousands of people and communities through projects that deliver important services like childcare and elder care, as well as social infrastructure like community halls, sports centres and other community centres vital to local life.

“A key focus of Clann Credo’s work is supporting and nurturing community and voluntary activity. It recognises that in every one of these often marginalised communities there are local heroes whose only goal is to improve the lives of those around them. These financially supported initiatives have sustained thousands of jobs and strengthened communities nationwide over the past 20 plus years,” the Presentation sisters stated.

Presentation sister who founded Clann Credo honoured by Kilkenny County Council

At a civic reception was held to honour Sr. Magdalen Fogarty, pbvm, as Founding President of Clann Credo – Kilkenny County Council for helping to set up finance of more than €120 million to help build and sustain struggling community groups throughout Ireland through the  creation of  Clann Credo – Community Loan Finance, .

The reception was hosted by the Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr Martin Brett, in conjunction with Kilkenny County Council on Friday 27 September at City Hall, where the pioneering sister was presented with the Founding President Award.

They congratulated Sr Magdalen Fogarty on what they called this “wonderful occasion for celebration” and recognition of her considerable contribution, and wished her continued blessings in all that she continues to do.

See link to full article by Ann Marie Foley (Catholic Ireland)  HERE

The 2019 Charity Impact Awards

Sr. Magdalen Fogarty

Presented by The Wheel (the national   association of charities, community and voluntary organisations and social enterprises) the Charity Impact Awards celebrate the  positive impact these organisations, and the individuals behind them, make in the lives of millions of people in Ireland and beyond.

At the Award Ceremony on 10th December 2019, Sr. Magdalen Fogarty received the Trustee of the Year Award in recognition of her work as founding President of Clann Credo Community Loan Finance, Ireland’s first social finance provider.

Sr. Magdalen understood the power that finance bestows on those who enjoy economic wealth and in parallel she understood the powerlessness of ‘those kept poor’ by unjust systems in a world where there should be enough for everyone. Like Nano Nagle she believed she had a duty to make change possible.

Her concept was simple – use finance as a tool for social transformation.  She saw finance as a resource for development that if managed and invested could have a very real and practical social impact on local communities the length and breadth of the country.  It was out of this mindset that Clann Credo came to life in 1996 .

The progress of Clann Credo is well known. The projects that they have enabled include social  enterprises, charities, amateur sports clubs and many more.  All projects that would not have been able to get off the ground were it not for the existence and support of Clann Credo.

Our warmest congratulations and heartfelt thanks.  “ Thank you for shining [Nano’s] lantern for those kept poor”  




Faith Development Project (MDCCE)

Faith Development Project (MDCCE)


L-R: At the launch of the project in June 2018, Sr. Anne Codd, pbvm,  Dr. Gareth Byrne, Director of MDCCE, Dr. Anne Looney Dean of DCU Institute of Education and Natalie Walker, CEO, DCU Educational Trust.

The North East Province has entered into a partnership with DCU’s Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education (MDCCE) to enable research into community-based adult religious education and faith development in Ireland today.

As researcher for the project, Dr. Bernadette Sweetman, began work in October 2018.  It is intended that the first the research will provide a broad picture of current provision in adult religious education, accompanied by quantitative and qualitative research into the educational needs of local faith communities.  This research would then inform the development and delivery of pilot projects to test new approaches to faith development, working with a cross section of local faith communities in Ireland (see News Update below).

In the third phase, the learning that has been drawn from the research will be published widely.  It is intended that this learning will include models of planning, enabling, and reflecting on the practice of adult faith development.

It was most encouraging to learn that the Institute of Education will fund fees for a doctoral student for a period of four years at the MDCCE, researching an area of adult religious education and supporting the pilot projects. This is intended “to give greater sustainability to the research programme while at the same time recognising the tercentenary of Nano Nagle’s birth (2018)”.

Religion and Education  – a new publication

Religion & Education – The Voices of Young People in Ireland

A new book, Religion and Education: The Voices of Young People in Ireland, exploring attitudes of teenagers on the island of Ireland to religion and diversity was launched in early December in DCU’s St. Patrick’s Campus.

Published by Veritas Publications, it is edited by Dr. Gareth Byrne, Director of the Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education, Dublin City University, and Prof. Leslie J. Francis, Warwick Religions and Education Research Centre, University of Warwick.

Prof. Francis spoke at the launch on the theme of ‘Listening to young people: The benefits of empirical research on religion and education’.

In the publication, the authors provide a comparative analysis of what young people in Ireland have to say about religion over a period of fifty years.  Their most recent material comes from the Religious Diversity and Young People survey administered among three thousand thirteen to fifteen-year-old students between 2013 and 2015.

Among some of its key research themes and topics are:

  • Comparing the religiosity of young men and women and their differing attitudes to the Catholic church.
  • The denominational differences in religious and moral values between students attending Catholic and Protestant schools.
  • Inter-sectionality in gender and nationality for those growing up Catholic in Ireland
  • The Catholic identities, religious faith and moral values of 16 – 19 year old males, indicating that religiously unaffiliated young men retain some of the vestiges of religious heritage in Ireland.

The book is available from Veritas here.

(Note: Text and image used courtesy of Mater Deai Catholic Centre for Education (MDCCE website page).

MDCCE Faith Development Project – News Update

In May / June 2019, a team of researchers at the Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education at Dublin City University launched a nationwide survey on Adult Religious Education and Faith Development. This survey was very successful and gathered insights from adults of all ages, from all counties and a variety of faith traditions, belief systems and worldviews.

In the months since, the team have been meeting with people already established in the provision of opportunities in adult religious education and faith development. These range from small groups to Centres; formal and informal gatherings; practical projects and courses of study and much more. From these people, the research team are learning rich insights that they wish to share with other groups and communities who may be seeking ways to create new opportunities and might benefit from some assistance.

In this regard, the research team are inviting groups and communities who may be planning to try something new in adult religious education and faith development in the near future to get in touch. It may be that there is a particular need to be addressed in a community; a certain project that requires attention or a fledging idea that needs some nourishment. Ideally, the research team wish to work alongside a small number of such initiatives during 2020, while also identifying possibilities for future engagement.

Expressions of interest are invited from any parties who feel this opportunity suits them. See full details and expression of interest form in website link below.

The closing date for submission is Friday 20th March 2020.

Note: Researchers at the Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education (MDCCE) at Dublin City University are working on an exciting three-year project which explores the nature, scope and potential of religious education and faith development for adults in Ireland. Funded by the Presentation Sisters North East Province, it is hoped that the project is enhancing public awareness of the great work already happening in communities, parishes and groups. Giving affirmation and recognition to those already actively engaged in adult religious education and faith development, the research team will work with many different groups across Ireland in setting up new opportunities for adults to explore. All queries in relation to this project please email bernadette.sweetman@dcu.ie




The PiNNacle Project

The PiNNacle Project


Photo: The North East Province Leadership Team with Professors Deirdre Raftery (2nd Left) & Dr. Margaret Liddy (2nd Right).  Sr. Margarita Ryan, Provincial Leader (is 3rd Right)

The PiNNacle Project is an innovative research project which was launched in University College Dublin (UCD), School of Education at the end of 2018. The project aims to build teaching capacity in the developing world, and will be led by Professors Deirdre Raftery and Marie Clarke. It will offer Masters scholarships for women teachers from pilot schools in India and Pakistan to study at UCD.

The Presentation Sisters, are generous sponsors of this wonderful project in collaboration with the UCD Foundation and the School of Education.  At the project launch, Sr. Margarita Ryan (Provincial Leader) spoke about the:

 ‘explicit mission to work for the transformation of unjust systems, the Integrity of Creation, and the flourishing of humanity and earth’, and she also spoke about the Presentation Sisters’ commitment in ‘supporting important projects that strive to eliminate human trafficking, eradicate rape as a weapon of war, resist gender-based violence and violence against women, defend indigenous peoples and migrants, and support the education of girls and women’.  

The first PiNNacle scholar sponsored by the Province is Sr. Zabaria Peter who has just arrived on 29th of June 2019 to Ireland to take up this opportunity. We extend a warm welcome to Zabaria and wish her all the very best with her studies here.

The PiNNacle Project ~ a thank you

 “As Professor Marie Clarke and I reflect on the past year, I am struck by how collaborative our partnership has been. It has been an honour to be part of this innovative research project to build teaching capacity in India and Pakistan, and I am delighted to report on our initial achievements.

Our thanks goes to the Presentation Sisters (NEP) for their commitment and hard work to advance research and leadership skills in UCD School of Education and bring together complementary expertise to identify and promote what is best in teacher education for women teachers in developing contexts”.

~ (An extract from the PiNNacle Project Report 2019 by Prof. Deirdre Raftery)



Link to UCD Foundation – PiNNacle Project Page




New iScoil Logo

iScoil is an inclusive on-line learning community offering a pathway to education and employment for young people aged 13-16 years who are out of mainstream education. iScoil was developed by Presentation Ireland and funded by the Presentation Sisters to meet the needs of these young people by using digital technology to re-engage them in learning.  iScoil is now a registered charity and limited company.

What We Do

iScoil is a non-profit online learning service that offers young people an alternative path to learning, accreditation and progression.  We provide a safe learning environment where young people can re-engage with education, achieve recognised QQI certification and access further education, training and employment opportunities.

iScoil aims to:
  • Engage young people in learning
  • Build confidence, self-esteem and social development
  • Offer accreditation opportunities
  • Support progression to further education and employment.


How We Work

We provide a personalised learning programme based on a student’s unique needs, interests and abilities.

Our approach combines instructional content with individual mentoring and tutoring support to guide each student along their journey, building up an assessable portfolio of work, leading to their QQI accreditation.

iScoil is flexible and adaptable, allowing students to work at their own pace, from home or from a local blended learning centre.

1. Referral

Our referrals are made by TUSLA Education Welfare Officers for early school leavers aged between 13-16 years. Each referral is reviewed carefully to ensure that iScoil is in the best interests of the young person referred.

2. Getting Started

When accepted, each student receives an iScoil pack that provides all information required to log in to our learning platform. Students start with some basic learning activities and exercises designed to allow us assess learning styles and interests. Students are assigned an individual online mentor and introduced to our online course tutors.

3. Personal Learning Plan

A mentor builds a personalised learning plan that is designed to bring out the best of the student’s abilities and is reflective of their interests. Each day the student completes work which online tutors and mentors review, provide feedback and adapt the next day’s learning plan as required.

4. Support

Mentors regularly host live video calls with learners and have years of experience guiding students through unique learning paths. Our online tutors provide help and daily feedback, while our central team are always available to contact online and by phone.

5. Achieving Certificates

As students work through the tasks in their learning plan, they complete various learning outcomes. These outcomes eventually build into a full portfolio of evidence. This forms the basis of their continuous assessment. Students can achieve certification for each course they complete.

6. Progression

When students are ready to move on from iScoil, we can provide help and advice on the next stage in their learning journey. Some of our students have chosen to return to school and others have progressed to further education, training courses or employment.