At a time when the role of women in shaping society was severely restricted, [Nano Nagle] lived on the razor’s edge, a woman fearless before a tyrannical world. A woman ‘Ablaze with God’.
‘Nano Nagle, a woman ablaze with God, you daily walked the razor’s edge of life, witnessing to the divine conspiracy of love. Awaken within us the fire of loving service, so that like you we may continue to go one pace beyond’. ( From Page 5 – Preface to ‘The Story of Nano Nagle: A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge’, Sr. Anne Lyons, pbvm).
In the words of the author Edwina Gately, Nano was possessed and driven by God, calling her into a ‘Great Love-Conspiracy‘ to make a difference to a hurting world.
‘Nano Nagle, spirit-led, Spirit strengthened, was wholly woman in her response to God’s action in her life. She lived fully the essence of womanhood – to be life-bearer, life-nurturer among her people. She did not spend her energies on anger or on violence in response to injustice, nor did she let herself be paralysed by the magnitude of the problems around her. Accepting the suffering which her decisions entailed, she gave to others the gift of life and of a future’. ((Raphael Consedine, pbvm).
May we too, as Presentation people, understand well how to make a difference in ‘a hurting world’, by working together in a Great Conspiracy of Love.
Nano Nagle Prayer
You raise up people from age to age
To speak anew Your Word to us,
And to show us your ways.
Such is Nano Nagle.
In days when courage is needed,
You give us this woman of strength
to walk before us with conviction.
In days of great change,
You present us with a prophet
whose faith is firm.
As the light of her lantern brought hope
into the lives made wretched by
poverty and oppression,
so may she inspire us to compassionate action
for those in need around us.
To find out more about Nano Nagle see Life lived on the ‘Razor’s Edge’ | Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland (presentationsistersne.ie) and Nano’s Letters – A Digital Collection | Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland (presentationsistersne.ie)
Note: The quote from Raphael Consedine, pbvm is from: ‘A Listening Journey: A Study of the Spirit and Ideals of Nan Nagle and the Presentation Sisters’ (Congregation of Presentation Sisters, 1986).
Edwina Gately is a is a poet, theologian, artist, writer, and lay minister. The quote used here is from a Poem by Edwina Gateley in honour of Nano being made Venerable in 2014.