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Caherciveen expresses Gratitude

13 March 2011

Ireland SW Province

Sr. Consolata and Sr. Kathleen Quinlan

On the eve of Presentation Day 2010 a beautiful plaque was blessed by Canon Billy Crean in the O’Connell Memorial Church, Caherciveen.  This plaque was presented by the Caherciveen Parish Community in gratitude to the Presentation Sisters for their ministry in Iveragh over the years since 1840.  It will take pride of place in the Sisters’ former choir adjoining the Church.

Many past pupils and friends were present and several sisters who taught there over the years joined the present community, Sr. Loreto Relihan, Sr. Ina Dillon and Sr. Augustine Counihan.  Refreshments were enjoyed in the Community Centre afterwards and of course there was plenty of reminiscing and stories of former days.


The Commemorative Plaque

Acknowledgement of Presentation Sisters, Caherciveen 20 November 2010 - address by Sr. Mary Hoare

"Tá an-áthas orm bheith anseo anocht agus seans agam focail buíochas a ghabháil do mhuintir Cathair Saidhbhin."

"I am a native of Caherciveen and personally indebted to the Presentation Sisters and very happy to add my word of thanks to what has already been said."

"This evening I speak as leader of Presentation Sisters in S.W. and in particular on behalf of the Sisters living in community here in Caherciveen - Sr. Loreto Relihan, Sr Ina Dillon, Sr. Augustine Counihan, Sr. Columbanus Quirke, the leader who lives in Killarney and all the Sisters who lived in community here and taught in the schools.  They left a high standard in quality education, a love for music and a love for the Christian faith, Christian values helping one another out.  Religious practice was part of the fabric of our lives and a big part of school life.  No surprise that there is a strong representation from South Kerry in the Presentation Congregation and I’m delighted a number of them are here this evening. People of South Kerry are held in high esteem among Presentation Sisters."

"Nano Nagle’s pioneering work for Catholic Education and her contribution to positive change in Ireland in the 18th century is well documented.  As you know she started off her schools in Cork."

 "The first convent outside Cork was in Killarney in 1793.  Sisters from Killarney made a foundation in Dingle in 1829.  Sisters from Dingle came to Caherciveen in 1840.  The first Sisters came by horse and carriage, stayed overnight in Miltown (founded in 1838) and arrived in Caherciveen to a great welcome. People of Caherciveen have continued to support the sisters and the schools down through the years. Successive communities have appreciated the good relationship between the people and the Sisters. A school was opened and there were 458 pupils in a short time.  In the annals of the convent it is recorded that Daniel O’Connell visited and was very impressed with the activities in progress.  High standards continue."

Sr. Mary Hoare, Mary Daly (mother of Sr. Regina Daly New Zealand), Nuala Keane

"Thanks to all involved in making this event possible: all the background work, the thought in deciding what type of commemoration, the decision to have the inscription on a plaque of Valentia slate, David Howard.  We are delighted with the plaque and the words chosen for the inscription, the inclusion of the Presentation emblem, a Cross and the letters P.B.V.M.( Presentation Blessed Virgin Mary), the final prayer written in Irish.  Nano Nagle was a woman of deep prayer and our Irish language is a rich source of spirituality.  We are very encouraged with the plan to have a portrait of Nano Nagle hanging in the O'Connell Memorial Church."

"Nano was a woman who experienced a lot of failure in her life, her strength lay in the fact that she never gave up.  At various times young women joined the group and then departed.  Yet Nano’s trust did not waver.  In her last extant letter she wrote to her friend Teresa Mulally. “Though neither you nor I should live to see it prosper yet I hope it may prosper hereafter and be of universal service in the Kingdom.” She had a sense of having started something bigger than herself.  Her trust was strengthened through the long hours she spent in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  Currently there are 2,500 Presentation Sisters in 27 countries worldwide - an interesting statistic and a testimony to how the congregation prospered.  We have Presentation Sisters working full time in New York as NGO representatives at the U.N."

"Our appreciation of Nano’s life unites us.  Our presence here makes us part of something greater than ourselves.  How we live out Nano’s inspiration will vary but the common thread will be our openness to listen to the needs around us and make a courageous faithful response …"

"I will conclude by quoting the blessing from the plaque: 'Go maire solas na Toirbhirte in ár measc go deo.'"

Extract from the Parish Newsletter Spring 2011

Celebrating the Presentation Sisters

On Saturday November 20th last the parish gathered for the unveiling of a plaque to mark the wonderful involvement of the Presentation Sisters for the last 170 years in our community.  The Mass was celebrated by Canon Billy, who warmly welcomed our local Presentation Sisters, Sr. Loreto, Sr Ina and Sr. Augustine and the many Sisters who travelled long distances to be with us for the occasion.  St. Joseph’s Primary School choir added greatly to our celebration.  The evening finished with a memorable reception in the Community Centre, and thanks to all who made it so beautiful.

Sr. Betty O'Dowd and Sr. Joan O'Neill

The plaque and a portrait of Nano Nagle, founder or the Presentation Sisters, will be erected in the Church when interior work is completed and it reads: “This Plaque commemorates the special and immeasurable service the Presentation Sisters contributed to the people of South Kerry. The local convent was established in 1840 by Sister Mary Joseph Mahony from Castlequin and the first school opened with 458 pupils. From those dark days of deprivation, they have carried the Light of Nano Nagle’s spirit to the present day. May their kindly presence grace us for many years to come. Go maire solas na Toirbhirte in ar measc go deo.

Sr. Attracta and Sr. Mary Sheehan

Presentation Sisters, Caherciveen - Time Line

1840 Four Sisters come from Dingle to establish the convent here.
1841 9 November: When Daniel O ‘Connell visits there are 458 pupils
1854 Industrial employment with the Lace making factory
1933 Establishment of Secondary Top
1940 Centenary Celebrations
1964 New Secondary School opened
1968 Two prefabricated rooms built in the secondary school grounds to accommodate the increase in numbers due to the introduction of “Free Education”
1992 Christian Brothers Secondary School amalgamates with St. John Bosco’s Presentation Secondary School
1992 Primary School moved to Christian Brothers School (Present Library Building)
1999 The second level schools in South Kerry amalgamated into Colaiste na Sceilge. The Primary School moves to the present building in O’Connell Street

 Enjoying the celebrations!

Back Road:  Canon Billy Crean, Srs. Kathleen Quinlan, Mary Hoare, Eilis Daly, de Sales Horgan, Attracta Carmody, Miriam O'Connell

Front Row:  Mary O'Mahony (sister of Sr. Eileen Keating English Province), Annette Fitzpatrick, Marie Murphy

[Submitted by Sr. Margaret Coleman]