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Nano Nagle we thank you

Nano Nagle we thank you

Venerable Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Congregation died on the 26th April 1784.

In her book Nano Nagle: Woman of the Gospel Sr. Pius O’Farrell includes a eulogy to Nano, attributed to Sr. Ursula Kavanagh:

“What will become of the innocent orphans, hundreds of whom she drew from vice and ignorance? What will be come of the sick, naked and afflicted whom she so often relieved and comforted with her unbounded charities?

The object of her greatest distress was that of her greatest compassion, without being confined to any religion”

Our experience of Presentation Life today confirms to us that Nano Nagle is not a figure confined to the past but rather, someone whose vision is as relevant today as it was in her own time.

Nano Nagle’s life and vision sparked an answering fire in the hearts of her first companions, as it does in our hearts today.

Women of listening hearts

On her deathbed she entrusted to Mary Ann Collins (Sr. Angela) and her handful of faithful followers the task of continuing her mission.

“She merely wished them to become as she herself was, the servants of the Poor … “.

Two hundred and forty years ago (1784) Sr. Angela steered her little group of sisters through difficult times.  They endured great poverty, deprivations and near destitution.  What courage, faith and zeal were required of her and them, in such times!

Raphael Consedine, PBVM refers to Sr. Angela as a woman:

“ … whose contribution was essentially personal … without her fidelity Nano’s Institute would almost certainly have perished within a year of her death. When humanly speaking there was nothing to hope for, Mary Ann Collins listened, not to the dictates of self-interest, but to the Divine Call in her life.  In so doing, she gave an example of single-minded faithfulness, which both captured the past shared with Nano, and pointed the way to the future for those who came to join her”.

In spite of a precarious struggle for survival, the seeds of new hope gradually emerged with an increase in members and approval of new constitutions in 1791.  Aware of Nano’s devotion to the feast of Mary’s Presentation in the Temple, the congregation became know as the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It is because of the dynamic courage and energy of those early women, fired by the self-same spirit of Nano Nagle, and filled with Nano’s zeal, that many travelled to the peripheries of the earth.

“They were and are today, women of listening hearts.  To them the Spirit speaks: Come! And so, they rise up to follow!”

We pray in gratitude

Today, 26 April 2024 we pray in gratitude for the life of Nano Nagle and those many women of ‘listening heart’, past and present.

Nano still bids us to move from our safe and comfortable nests, from our self-isolation and complacency, to move to the peripheries, to life on the ‘razor’s edge’.

Today we ask for the grace not to simply replicate the life of Nano Nagle, but to continue to seek new pathways, new strategies, and imaginative responses to those kept poor in our world today.  

The International Presentation Association (IPA) Spirituality and Charism Animator, Lancia Rodrigues PBVM, has prepared a beautiful reflection, entitled ‘Lamps Aflame for Collaborative Transformation’ to honour Nano’s contribution to the world.  See HERE

The text for this reflective article has been adapted from The Story of Nano Nagle: A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge by Anne Lyons PBVM (Chapter 9: Pages 54-56).

Also see Listening Journey: A Study of the Spirit and Ideals of Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters by Raphael Consedine, PBVM (Congregation of Presentation Sisters,1986).

See https://presentationsistersne.ie/life-lived-on-the-razors-edge/



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