The Postulator’s Diary
By proclaiming Nano Nagle as Venerable in 2013, the universal Church has recognised Nano as a woman of faith, hope & heroic virtue whose vision and work transformed the lives of so many.
Greetings to each one of you! In February 2020 I received the request from Congregational Leadership Team (CLT) inviting me to consider the role of Postulator for the cause of Nano Nagle. What did I know about this role? What would it entail? These and many other questions swirled around in my heart and mind as I sought to discern my response. Aware of my limitations but also that I held a great passion for this courageous and daring woman of faith, I said ‘yes’!
From the outset, I knew that I needed both the prayers, support, and engagement of the Congregation in the ongoing promotion of the Cause for the Beatification and Canonization of Nano Nagle. I view this ministry as one of shared collaboration, rooted in our shared hope that, if God wills it, Venerable Nano Nagle will one day be conferred with the titles of Blessed and Saint.
Communication with members of the Congregation and wider Presentation Family is a priority for me. I hope with the aid of our various communication channels to offer regular updates pertaining to the various activities in which I am and will be engaged, as Postulator.
The Cause of Venerable Nano Nagle
As a Congregation we took the decision to continue with the process towards Nano Nagle’s Beatification and Canonisation, should this be God’s will. I am gradually learning how lengthy such a process can be. Core questions arise:
- How do we continue to keep aflame the passion and enthusiasm for Nano’s cause?
- How can I/ We actively promote, foster and further a lively devotion to Nano Nagle? Without this active and lively devotion her Cause will not progress.
I am most interested to learn of the various ways devotion to Nano Nagle is being fostered in the North East Unit. Recording these is another important aspect of this work, so please do contact me with any stories, updates or favours received through Nano’s intercession. There is a saying: “We are all angels with only one wing, so we must embrace one another if we are to fly.” As the Postulator, I am but one wing! I take this opportunity to reach out to you and ask you to be that other wing.
Together let us embrace this sacred work.
Prayer for the Beatification of Venerable Nano Nagle
who kindled in the heart of
your servant, Nano Nagle,
the fire of your love,
and a consuming desire to serve
You in any part of the world,
grant that we also may love You,
and make you much loved.
And if it be for the glory of God,
and the salvation of souls,
grant that soon she may be raised
to the altars of your Church.
Through Christ our Lord.
(From – ‘The Story of Nano Nagle – A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge’, Sr. Anne Lyons, pbvm).
Note: To find out about Nano Nagle – search any of the ‘Tags’ on this website home page with ‘Nano’ in the title.
Diary Update – June/July 2021
The past few months (since my last Diary update) have seen my energies divided between my ongoing online language study, preparing and presenting sessions on the Icon of Nano Nagle to the Inter-Unit Novitiate, completing an interview with Global Sisters Report (see below) as well as the events related to the webinar with Dr. Danielle O’Donovan and Nano Nagle Place as part of the Cork World Book Festival.
Living on the Razors Edge
Positive responses to the story of Nano Nagle in this new booklet continue apace, with another small but significant piece of news in this regard from the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See, Dr. Derek Hannon. He has delivered the booklet on Nano Nagle to Cardinal Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (in the post from October 2020). The Booklet has recently been reprinted and is now on sale at the Veritas Bookshop – among their best selling list. So that’s all good news for making Nano known and encouraging a lively devotion to her! (To find out more see – Life lived on the ‘Razor’s Edge’ (Messenger Publications).
A Global Sisters Report interview
This interview with Sarah McDonald was a valuable opportunity to share the story of Nano Nagle and the publication of the new booklet to a wider global audience in the context of Presentation Life and Mission today as well as my own life journey as a Presentation Sister, and the global nature of Presentation outreach today.
“My hope is that the booklet offers a fresh approach to this woman not as somebody back in history, but as somebody whose spirit is alive and who can inspire men and women today in their Christian call”.
This interview took the form of a Q & A session which you can read in full HERE
Cork World Book Festival Webinar
And here is the YouTube link to Anne’s interview with Dr. Danielle O’Donovan, Programme Manager at Nano Nagle Place – Listen HERE
Women of Strength and Faith
The Irish Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr. Derek Hannon expressed a keen interest in both Venerable Nano Nagle, and in the role of the Congregational Postulator, and his desire to be of service by whatever means possible, to help further Nano Nagle’s cause. His interest soon took concrete shape with an invitation from him, to Sr. Anne Lyons, pbvm to participate in a webinar “Women of Strength and Faith past and present” on February 1st, St. Brigid’s Day this year.
As Postulators, Sr. Brenda Dolphin, RSM, and Anne were invited to address the life of our respective ‘Venerables’ (Catherine McAuley and Nano Nagle respectively); while Sr. Pat Murray, IBVM Secretary General of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) addressed the role of women today. You can access and view this interesting webinar by clicking on the link below.
Social revolution at Christmas
In December 2019 Victoria Pearson initially penned this inspiring piece on ‘How four Cork women sparked a social revolution on Christmas Eve 1775’. The four women in the article are: Nano Nagle, Mary Fouhy, Elizabeth Burke and Mary Ann Collins. In Victoria’s words they:
“ … were driven by a progressive and ambitious missionary devotion to educate Cork city’s Catholic poor. Regardless of taking religious vows, they had no intention of staying behind convent walls and said as much to the Vatican. The rule of enclosure could not apply to them; they needed to go out into the community”.
That Christmas Eve night (1775) the four women founded the first religious order established in Ireland since the Reformation. This congregation, known as the Society of Charitable Instruction of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, would later become the Presentation Order.
“Fifty years before the creation of the national school system, these early Presentation Sisters taught young girls, the daughters of the city’s labourers, at a time when the daughters of the rich were barely educated. They taught girls skills to improve their chances of employment, talents that they could fall back on in a precarious economy where most were dependent on male family members for survival. They empowered these girls to become independent women”.
“Education is for All” is Nagle’s legacy and each and every one of us educated in Ireland benefited, in some way, from that ideal. None of that would have been possible without these four courageous women on a cold Christmas Eve in Cork”.
Nano’s Global Garden
Inspiration for the Global Garden came from two of Nano’s quotes – “I have made myself a pretty garden…” and “if I could be of service in any part of the globe, I would willingly do all in my power.”
About the garden
The site was already a garden but weeds had entwined both above and below ground with original planting. The first step was to remove a lot of the soil and most of the plants from the beds involved. The Hornbeam hedging and some of the larger specimen shrubs were retained. This work was done over two days by a local farmer, John Magner using a digger and the new topsoil was given by a friend of his.
Nano’s inspiration spread from where she was born to all continents in the world, so the plan was to develop a garden with plants native to the countries where Presentation Sisters live and work. First the soil was left fallow and then emerging weeds were removed, a job done through physical work over some time.
As I researched suitable plants and asked visiting Sisters about what is native or common to their countries. I often found these plants are common here in Irish gardens. I now appreciated past gardeners and plant-hunters who travelled and brought these plants to Europe. Some of the plants in the Global Garden are bought from Garden Centres, some are divisions taken from other areas of our garden or from other Presentation gardens, and some are grown from seed”. (Sr. Eileen Nash, Ballygriffin).
“Woman of Welcoming Heart” – Nano musical
The musical ‘Woman of Welcoming Heart’ is about the life of Nano Nagle and her inspirational story, that still influences so many people today.
In 2014, Sr Roisin Gannon gave Irish composer and musician Tom Conroy (Piano Man Tom) the book of poetry called ‘Songs of the Journey’ by Sr Raphael Consedine. From the inspiration Tom received from reading the poetry he started to set some of the beautiful words to music and a collection of songs started to gather. As more and more songs were composed, an idea began to form to create a script around the songs. After getting help from English playwright, actor and director Dan E. Hyland, the musical was completed in August 2017.
During 2018, a year in which we celebrated 300 anniversary of Nano’s birth, the musical was performed multiple times all around the country. This is a performance of “Woman of Welcoming Heart” in Scoil Dara, Kilcock, Co. Kildare.
PiNNacle – teaching in the developing world
Wednesday 12 December 2018 at University College Dublin (UCD) saw the launch of PiNNacle, an innovative research project which aims to build teaching capacity in the developing world.
Led by Professors Deirdre Raftery and Marie Clarke in the School of Education, this project will identify and promote what is best in teacher education for women teachers in developing contexts and provide generous Masters scholarships for women teachers from pilot schools in India and Pakistan to study at UCD.
The launch of the project was supported by the Presentation Sisters, Ambassador Sandeep Kumar from the Embassy of India and Ambassador Shuja Alam from the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Both Ambassadors were eager to express their full support of PiNNacle and the education and empowerment of girls and women in India and Pakistan.
Also see updates under ‘The PiNNacle Project – ‘Expressions of Life and Ministry’ on our website link Expressions of life & ministry | Presentation Sisters Union North East Ireland (presentationsistersne.ie)
RTE The History Show podcast about Nano Nagle
Myles Dungan of RTE Radio 1 is joined by Deirdre Raftery, historian of education at University College Dublin, who along with Catriona Delaney and Catherine Nowlan-Roebuck, is the author of the recently published book Nano Nagle: The Life and the Legacy.
Nano’s Letters – A Digital Collection
In this digital age handwritten letters are a precious and rare thing, and even more precious, because of this rarity. Letters continue to communicate the considerations, thought and care of the author even years after, to a different readership from that originally intended. There is something incredibly moving that happens each time one sees the penned signature from the hand of Nano Nagle, even after all these years..
The launch of the digital collection
Friday, 8 June 2018 (the Feast of the Sacred Heart) was a really momentous occasion for anyone who wishes to explore and discover the woman and foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (PBVM). On this date a Nano Nagle Digital Project and Tercentenary Exhibition was launched by Dr. Deirdre Raftery of University College Dublin. The launch formed part of a three-day Summer School in Archives 2018 which took place at Nano Nagle Place, Cork, from 7-9 June.
To coincide with the Tercentenary of the Birth of Nano Nagle, the Congregational Leadership Team of the Presentation Sisters (Union), had sponsored a piece of comprehensive research which included the digitisation of the entire collection of the Letters of Nano Nagle, and a short online exhibition on the early foundations of the Presentation Sisters prior to 1800.
The digital collection comprises of seventeen manuscript letters; the letters are from Nano Nagle to Eleanor Fitzsimons (later Sr. Angela Fitzsimons), an Irish religious novice in Paris, and from Nano Nagle to Teresa Mulally, educator of the poor, in Dublin.
You can access the digital collection at https://digital.ucd.ie/view/ucdlib:153347
See full article HERE
Nano Nagle – The Life and the Legacy
Our wonderful book published in the tercentenary year of Nano Nagle’s birth (2018) – ‘Nano Nagle: the Life and the Legacy’ has just been shortlisted (Sept 2020) as Best New Book by the History of Education (UK) Society and in mid September 2020 it has been reviewed in the premier Irish historical journal, Irish Historical Studies where they describe it as ‘a meticulously researched book’. As Professor Deirdre Raftery wrote, when sharing this good news with us:
“These [recognitions] all help to foreground your history, and position it centrally in Irish history and in the history of education. All credit to the PBVMs, that they have such extensive and important archives, going back to their inception! As the saying goes, ‘no archives, no history’”.
Prayer for the Cause of Nano
O God, Who enkindled in the heart of your servant, Nano Nagle, the fire of your love, and a consuming desire to serve You in any part of the world, grant that we also may love You, and make you much loved. And if it be for the glory of God, and the salvation of souls, grant that soon she may be raised to the altars of your Church. Through Christ our Lord.
The Nano Nagle Cause is the journey taken in the process towards Beatification and Canonisation of Nano Nagle in the Catholic Church.
Nano Nagle was declared Venerable by Pope Francis on 31 October 2013. This was the second step on the path to Sainthood and was achieved in part as a result of tremendous support and background work within the Congregation and from other supporters.
There are four steps in the Canonisation Process:
- Servant of God is a title given to a person when the Pope gives permission for the opening of the cause of his/her sainthood.
- A second step declares the person Venerable, when it is established that the person had practised virtue (theological and cardinal) to a heroic degree.
- A third stage is a decree permitting the public honouring at the level of the local church of a Servant of God whose virtues to a heroic degree, or martyrdom, have been duly recognised. It is also a recognition that the person can intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in their name. Those reaching this stage are declared Blessed.
- Canonisation is the definitive decree of admission of a Servant of God among the canon of saints and a declaration that the person should be publicly honoured by the Universal Church.
The next step on the road for Venerable Nano Nagle is Beatification. In order that she be declared Blessed the Congregation for the Causes of Saints needs to approve the attribution of a miracle to Nano’s intercession. Read full article Nano Nagle’s way to sainthood