Spread of Congregation
Nano founded her congregation in Cork in 1775 with three other sisters. From such small beginnings, the Presentation Sisters spread to many towns in Ireland and around the world. From the earliest times, most new convents developed independently but the particular charism of the foundress has always been a source of life and unity. Following the Second Vatican Council, many of these autonomous groups of Presentation Sisters came together, in 1976, as the Union of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
There are other groups of Presentation Sisters which were founded which are not part of that Union but with whose members we collaborate closely through the International Presentation Association (IPA).
From Acorn to Oak
The growth of the Congregation has often been described as similar to the growth of an acorn until it finally develops as an oak tree. As with any living organism, there is a cycle of birth, growth, decline and death, followed by rebirth.
While Nano's example inspired several other founders of religious orders in Ireland, her own Sisters began to move out to areas to which they felt called. They spread their wings, not only in Ireland, but in Newfoundland (1833); England (Manchester, 1836); the West Indies (British Guiana,1841); India (1842); the USA (San Francisco, 1854); Tasmania (1866); mainland Australia (1873) and Pakistan in (1895).
In the following century, foundations were established in Africa (Zimbabwe, 1949 and Zambia, 1970); New Zealand (1951); the first of a new wave of foundations from Ireland in the USA began in Texas (San Antonio,1952) followed by foundations in the Philippines (1960 ), South America - Chile (1982), Ecuador (1983) and Peru (1993); Slovakia (1992); and Thailand (1999) so that the Presentation Sisters have become truly a world-wide organisation in the spirit of their foundress. Nano’s vision always had a missionary dimension - in a letter to a friend in 1769, she had written:
"If I could be of any service in saving souls in any part of the globe, I would willingly do all in my power."