In October 2013, Nano Nagle was declared Venerable .
By proclaiming Nano Nagle as venerable, the Universal Church has recognised Nano as a woman of Faith, hope and heroic virtue whose vision and work transformed the lives of so many.
Nano Nagle was born Honora Nagle in Ballygriffin in Cork in 1718, a turbulent time in Irish history due to the Penal Laws. The Nagle family was a wealthy Catholic family and Nano had the benefit of a European education and privileged lifestyle
Nano Nagle, founded the Presentation Sisters. She and three other women made their vows in Cork on Christmas Eve 1775. This foundation was the fruit of more than 20 years of loving service to the poor of that city where she had founded her first school in 1754. She established her schools at a time during the penal laws in Ireland when it was illegal for Catholics to teach in school. Nano also visited the poor in their homes – it was said of her “that there wasn't a single garret in Cork that she did not know”. She built a home “where poor old women might spin out their last thread”. From this small beginning, the Presentation Sisters spread to many towns in Ireland and around the world. Today, Nano Nagle is regarded as one of the great pioneers of Catholic education. Her work laid the foundation for a voluntary school system in Ireland and for the wide range of ministries to which Presentation Sisters around the world remain committed to this day. The growth of the Congregation has often been described as similar to the growth of an acorn until it finally develops into an oak tree. While Nano's example inspired several other founders of religious orders in Ireland, her own Sisters began to move to areas to which they felt called.
They went to Newfoundland (1833), England (1836), the West Indies (1841), India (1842),
the USA (1854), Tasmania (1866), mainland Australia (1873) and Pakistan (1895). In the
following century, foundations were established in Africa (Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Zambia); New
Zealand, Philippines, South America (Chile, Ecudaor and Peru) Solvakia and Thailand.
In this way, the Presentation Sisters have become truly a world-wide organisation in the spirit of their foundress Nano Nagle. Nano's vision always had a missionary dimension – in a letter in 1769, she had written. “If I could be of service in saving souls in any part of the globe, I would willingly do all in my power.” Though Nano remained in Ireland – she did prepare boys to go to the West Indies to share the good news with the people there. She wrote that “all my children are brought up to be fond of instructing”.
Her dying words are our inspiration: "Love one another as you have hithertoo done" : "spend yourselves for the poor."
If you would like to know more about this courageous
woman and her followers – then visit: