On Sunday last, Archbishop Eamon Martin celebrated Mass in Our Lady of Lourdes Church on the occasion of the Presentation Sisters’ farewell from Drogheda.
During his homily, the Archbishop of Armagh said, “Let me tell you a little about Nano Nagle, an extraordinary and inspirational person who was certainly a signpost to God for so many people during her life. In 2013 Pope Francis declared her to be “Venerable Nano Nagle”, recognising her as someone well on the on the road to canonisation. This was because she is such an heroic example to the world of faith, hope and love.
“Nano Nagle was born in County Cork just over 300 years ago, and she devoted her life to the education of the poor, pointing them to Christ and the values of the Gospel. Having had the privilege of an education abroad herself, and after spending some time in religious life, Nano returned to her native city where she was moved to help the young girls of Cork who were growing up in great deprivation and with no access to school.
“Generations of Presentation Sisters have followed Nano’s example in bringing the Good News of Christ to the poor, and acting as living pointers of faith, hope and love around the globe.”
Archbishop Martin continued, “Of course Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters are well known here in Drogheda. The sisters came to these parts 210 years ago. Their early presence in Fair Street, Duke Street and eventually at Greenhills has left a real mark. It is sad that the last community of sisters is now moving on, but the Presentation sisters will forever be remembered as amazing pointers to active faith , hope and love at work among us. For some time now the sisters have known that they would be finishing up their mission here, but they have worked to ensure that the example of their presence will remain. It now falls to the lay women and men, girls and boys of Drogheda to keep alive the ethos of compassionate service which Nano Nagle and the Presentation sisters championed – to be signposts, pointers to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”
In conclusion, the Primate of All Ireland said, “The Presentation sisters are a missionary congregation and their priorities have now shifted to other parts of the world where their charism is needed most. Perhaps some young girls here today, inspired by the example of Nano Nagle, would consider following in their footsteps because the world is still crying out for equality, compassion, justice and care – the values which Nano championed. Presentation schools continue to offer these values here in Drogheda and in many parts of Ireland under the patronage of Ceist, the lay organisation established to keep the lantern lit, to keep the light alive!
“We ask continued blessings on their work.”