In 1771, Nagle completed years of planning to establish a convent. She brought four Irish-born Ursuline Sisters to Cork, and funded the building of a convent for them at Cove Lane, near her first poor school.
In an atmosphere of hostility to Catholics, the nuns worked quietly. Their boarding school for Catholic girls became very successful, and the congregation quickly grew as young Irish women entered the Ursulines.
Although Nano’s primary apostolic mission was the provision of education for girls, women also benefited from her charity. Upon finishing work in the schools each day, Nano visited the poor and tended to the sick. These encounters inspired her to establish a home for aged and destitute women, not long before her death in 1784.
Following the founding of George’s Hill, convents were established in Waterford (1798), North Presentation Cork (1799), and Kilkenny (1800). After the turn of the century, the rate of expansion nationally was rapid. By the mid-19th century, over 50% of all Irish convents were Presentation foundations.
Interview with Professor Deirdre Raftery, on the uses to which the Nano Nagle letters may be put, by researchers.
Collections held by Presentation Sisters Congregational Archives, Cork and George’s Hill Archives, Dublin, and Presentation Archives San Francisco.
Letters originally owned by the Ursuline Sisters Archives, Cork, are now deposited at the Presentation Sisters Congregational Archives, Cork. The contribution of the Ursuline Sisters is gratefully acknowledged.
Images © Presentation Sisters Congregational Archives, Cork, and George’s Hill Archives, Dublin.
Text © Convent Collections, UCD Digital Library.
Published by UCD Digital Library
© All rights reserved. Material published here may not be reproduced without permission from University College Dublin, the Presentation Sisters Congregational Archives, Cork, George’s Hill Archives, Dublin, and Presentation Archives San Francisco.
Professor Deirdre Raftery, UCD School of Education (Project Director, Convent Collections)
Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Ursuline Sisters, Ireland
Dr Anne O’Leary PBVM
Rosarie Lorden PBVM, Congregational Archivist, Presentation Sisters Congregational Archive, Cork
Marie Therese King PBVM, Archivist, George’s Hill, Dublin
Sr Karen Kent OSU, Blackrock, Cork
Rachel Foote, Presentation Archives San Francisco
Deirdre Bennett, Laura Gallagher (Postgraduate Researchers, UCD School of Education)
Dr Catriona Delaney
UCD Library: Dr John B. Howard, Julia Barrett, Audrey Drohan, Órna Roche, Daniel Montes, Peter Clarke, Josh Clark