Blackwater Valley, Ballygriffin, Ireland,
Nano’s birth place
from Ireland to Newfoundland
with an ocean
entrance to St. John's harbour
In the early 18th century new seeds of God’s creative dream were planted in the heart of a young Irish woman named Nano Nagle who went on to become the Foundress of the Presentation Sisters in Ireland in 1776.
"She was a woman who, in her simplicity, dared greatly...
dared to let herself be guided by the Spirit of God.
And when he, like some will o’ the wisp on the mountains,
led her from the warmth of what was safe and comfortable,
out past the four walls of what was “enough” and “reasonable”,
away from the security of the familiar, tried and proven,
she followed with laughter in her heart.
For she had caught a glimpse of the Divine delight
in reversing human logic, in drawing power from weakness,
wisdom from folly, life from death.
In this lay her strength.
This is Nano Nagle."
— Raphael Consedine PVBM
Four pioneering Sisters among Nano’s followers, Sisters Bernard Kirwin, Magdalen O’Shaughnessy, Xavier Maloney and Xaverius Lynch, carried her vision and spirit to the shores of Newfoundland in 1833. They came at the invitation of Bishop Michael Fleming to establish a school that would offer improved educational opportunity for girls and young women in St. John’s. Nano’s vision had birthed a response that was both broad and penetrating. For the next 175 years our sisters continued to respond to this call. Academic learning, spiritual development/religious education and a deep appreciation for the arts and music were central to our education ministry among students, teachers and parents.
Nano’s spirit, the spirit of these first four women and those who followed them, continue to guide us as we endeavour in new ways to meet today’s emerging needs.