The First Community - Extracts 1784
25 April 1784
Being fortified by the last Sacraments, which she received with the tenderest compunction, she fixed her heart on Heaven, where alone her treasure was - and thus did she await with steady fortitude the expected signal of her departure. Her afflicted little Community assembled around her, learning from her how to die, as they had learned from her example how they should live. They united their sighs with hers, prayed for her victory in this last conflict, and, recommended with grateful tears, her precious soul to God. They then implored her blessing and last advice - She gave it to them - "love one another," she said "as you have hitherto done." It was a heavenly sentence - one worthy the life it concluded. She then gave up her charge of Superioress into the hands of Sister Angela Collins, recommending her to be vigilant; to be kind to those whom she committed to her care; and, by her efforts to ensure, as much as possible, a continuation of the good work she had only begun, and the progress of which she was not worthy to see. Shortly after, this great and extraordinary servant of God breathed her last, giving up her pure soul into the hands of Him, for whom she always labored and whom she always loved.
26 April 1784
One of Mother Nagle's great admirers gives her character in the following words, with that justice, energy and solidity of expression which distinguished his style: "Miss Nagle," says he, “was a person gifted with a mind which appeared almost divinely inspired to foresee and to remove every obstacle to a great work – a mind, beneficent by nature - gentle from habit - generous from disposition - and exemplary, from the workings of divine grace. A mind, in fine, formed at the school of the Cross - and there convinced by Jesus Christ, who is meek and humble of heart, that his yoke is sweet and his burden light: and that those who hope in him shall not be confounded. Her manners gained and engaged the heart - her authority commanded respect, without seeking its rights - her piety showed good example, while it strove to hide itself - her prudence excluded every excess - no labor could abate or relax her zeal - nor could any difficulty shake her resolution. She was ever equally submissive, and willing to receive, as to communicate advice or instruction." A woman, of whom the pen of Truth could hand down such a character, and whose own works bear the strongest of all testimonies in her favor, met, as may be supposed, the hour of her dissolution, with the peace and delight of the Lord. Requiescat in pace. Amen - !!! -
30 April 1784
Mother Nagle's remains were interred in the Cemetery belonging to the Ursulines, and enclosed in the large Tomb which stands in its centre. Her own most anxious wish was, that she should be buried with her own Sisters and children in Religion, "the members of her Congregation"; but, she consented to be laid in the Ursuline's Churchyard, on condition that these, should also be buried there. This condition was also agreed on - whence the Ursuline and Presentation Nuns had for many years a common burying ground.
This concludes the extracts from the Annals.
Questions for Personal Reflection
- How does the story of our beginnings mirror for you the heart of who we are?
- From the story of the first community, what do you see as the core of being Presentation?