Wednesday, April 26th, 2023 is the 239th anniversary of Nano Nagle’s death (1784). Each year it is a landmark moment for our lives as Presentation people, when we take time out to give thanks for Nano’s life and for her inspiration, as a determined and committed advocate for social change alongside compassionate care, with a resolute conviction that she was being sent by God to the poor. Nano left no stone unturned.
“ .. [Nano Nagle] embarked on a journey, that left to her own devices, she could never have scripted. God became the main author of her life and she collaborated fully with him. In his eulogy on the life and work of Nano Nagle, Bishop Coppinger gathered it up in one phrase: ‘The almighty presided at the counsels of her heart’. (page 49, ‘The Story of Nano Nagle: A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge’, Anne Lyons, pbvm).
Nano Nagle was a prophetic woman: the passionate love of God beckoned to her and she responded heroically against the oppressive system of her day.
Pope Francis writes:
“When the Gospel overturns certainties, prophecy arises. Only someone who is open to God’s surprises can become a prophet … We need lives that show the miracle of God’s love. Today we need prophecy, but real prophecy: not fast talkers who promise the impossible, but persons who give testimony that the Gospel is possible”.
Today, on the anniversary of the death of Nano Nagle we affirm that Nano Nagle is not a figure confined to the past, but someone whose vision is as relevant today, as it was in her time.
Creator God, lover of justice and oneness, we thank you for the life and light of Nano and for all Presentation people through the ages for the flame of compassionate love they brought across the continents all through these years.
Help us today, to be faithful keepers of your Flame!*
No stone unturned
Nano, left no stone unturned
In every suffering recognised
In every loss, the possibility of gaining
A way for all kept poor to raise their heads
To realise their value and their dignity
That they too then could
Light the way for others to
Go a step beyond
In deeds that made change happen
In the best way possible for all.
May we too turn the stones of disregard
To ‘Just Ways’ of being in our world today.
Nano Nagle is one of the most widely-recognised names in the history of religion and education in Ireland. Born into a wealthy family in 1718, she abandoned a life of privilege and position, choosing instead to live and work in solidarity with those made destitute in her beloved city of Cork. The impact of her work stretched far beyond the seven schools around the city which she established and the religious order which she founded, the Presentation Sisters, had at its height over 500 schools around the world. Nano Nagle was declared Venerable by Pope Francis in 2013.
Note* Prayer adapted from the Prayer Service text prepared By: Sr. Lancia Rodrigues, IPA Spirituality and Charism Animator, for the Anniversary of the death of Nano Nagle, 26th April 2023.