What Guides Us

We continue to share in the dream of Nano to:
Live contemplatively
Walk Lightly on the Earth
Witness prophetically. (CG 2018)


What Guides Us: ~ Mission ~ Charism ~ Spirituality . . .

(*C refers to our 2014 Constitutions, called Our Way of Life)

Nano Nagle’s vision and spirit, the spirit of the first four women to come to NL in 1833 and those who followed them, is what guides us as we continue to seek to give ever new expression to our life and mission as Presentation Sisters here in Newfoundland & Labrador and now as part of Union.

In 2017 at the IPA Assembly we unanimously committed, with Presentation Sisters world-wide and like Nano, to 

“Consciously choose to be drawn more deeply
into the Mystery of God,
the Mystery of Oneness,
and the reality of Earth and people made poor.”

Further guiding us into the future, at our 2018 Congregational Gathering (CG 2018) we wrote, as if in response to the call in C7 of Our Way of Life to be Mystics and Prophets:

We continue to share in the dream of Nano to:

Live contemplatively,
Walk lightly on Earth
Witness prophetically.


In fidelity to the Gospel and to the founding spirit, we embody Nano’s commitment to education as a way of liberation from poverty, and to her compassionate care of the vulnerable and the powerless by fostering the values proclaimed in the life and mission of Jesus. (C2)

Our response to evolving needs in increasingly challenging times emerges from the broadening articulation of our Mission, Charism and Spirituality; our focus, as part of a worldwide Congregation, becoming ever more global, inter-cultural and inter-generational.

Our Way of Life: our guiding documents

Sr Helena  Murphy, 102, reads our new 2014 Constitutions
to visually impaired Sisters at our Motherhouse 

Aligning with our broadening vision as part of Union, as an International Congregation our vision, like Nano’s, reaches beyond our local situations and has a more global consciousness and outreach. We are more conscious of the interconnectedness of all that exists and of God’s revelation in all of life. We add our voices, our resources, and our efforts to those who work for healthier ecosystems and a healthier planet, knowing that where Earth is most exploited, those made poor and kept poor suffer most.

We work for the transformation of unjust systems, the integrity of creation and the flourishing of humanity and Earth. We network with people and groups whose charism and values resonate with ours.    (C 7,8,9)


Our Congregation is shaped by fidelity to the Gospel as expressed in the spirituality and charism of Nano Nagle. (C2) Hospitality, justice and spirituality continue to be the essence of our Presentation Charism. Nano’s welcoming heart and her response to the call to “Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8) gave living expression to justice as having two feet, compassion and action. That same charism continues to guide us today. Our trust in Divine Providence sustains us, as it did Nano.

At our Congregational Gathering in 2018 (CG 2018), a new Congregational Direction Statement emerged that would more specifically guide us for the following six years. This new Direction Statement flows from Our Way of Life, approved in August 2014:

Communion by Mary Southard

We are called to awaken
to the Spirit of God
present and active in all that exists,
to a spirituality of being in communion,
and to participate in the universal mission of
Jesus Christ. (C3)


We remember and celebrate all those Sisters who have gone before us, those on whose shoulders we stand, including the first peoples on whose land we live and to whom we look for inspiration in connecting with and honouring the Earth. Their spirit has carried us to this new moment; they have taught us about integrity, courage, fidelity and availability for mission. Their faith and trust and their willingness to risk encourages us to say yes to an unknown future. Like them, we strive to open ourselves to each new moment, believing in the unfolding possibilities offered to us by our faithful God.

A growing understanding of the New Universe Story and of God’s love at the heart of the Universe draws us into deeper relationship with the Holy One, one another and the whole community of life. The new Universe story continues to broaden our world view and invite us to participate in giving birth to a renewed expression of religious life. As we continue to co-create that path, we renew our commitment to the beckoning energies of the charism of Nano Nagle, the mission of the Gospel, and our leaning into the wisdom of one another. Together, we allow our spirituality of being in communion with all life to unfold in all its mystery. In 1984 a stained-glass icon was commissioned for the bicentenary of Nano Nagle’s death. It illustrates and celebrates her life, mission, charism and spirituality. The original life-size icon can be found at the Nano Nagle Center at Nano’s birthplace of Ballygriffin, County Cork, Ireland. The newest booklet, Exploring the Nano Nagle Icon, was launched on April 26, 2022 on the Anniversary of Nano’s Death. 


Stained glass icon of Nano Nagle
by Desmond Kyne

Read the full story of this icon  or view the icon video  from Nano Nagle Place in Cork.

The Evolving Dream

We continue to hold sacred all that has brought us to this moment in our evolving story. We are being continually called, in the words of one of our earlier Mission Statements, to be women of contemplation, living in community, united in charity, joyfully and generously serving God and God’s people, with special attentiveness to Earth and those made poor and kept poor.

We continue to share a journey of contemplation, communion and creativity, aligning with the three guiding principles of the New Universe Story … Interiority,  Differentiation, and Communion. We recognize with gratitude our deepening consciousness of the Universe Story and we commit to ongoing engagement with its unfolding dream and to living in harmony with its principles and values.

We have further identified and continually recommit to our Five Essential Values that emerged as part of our enduring NL Presentation Congregation Direction Statement 2011:

• Fidelity to Mission and care of our members
• The Principles of The New Story
• Collaboration with IPA (International Presentation Association)
• Fidelity to our Presentation Associate Relationship
• Collaboration with others who honour and serve the whole community of life

Together we seek to integrate the wisdom of our past with the new that is forever emerging from within and among us. We trust that the spiralling energies of our God will continue to grace us to embrace faithfully and wholeheartedly all that is unfolding as we WALK ONE, striving to live more fully, open to new ways of embodying the vision of our foundress, Nano Nagle, and the dream of our God.

Two “What if” questions also emerged from our Congregational Gathering 2018 to further guide and challenge us as the future beckons …

  • What if we consciously spend ourselves for those kept poor?
  • What if we consciously loved one another?

A third question has since emerged …

  • What if Our Way of Life were truly our way of life?

    Profile: Nano Nagle

     In the face of fear, she chose to be daring,
    In the face of anxiety, she chose to trust,
    In the face of impossibility, she chose to begin.
    To universal misery she opposed ministry to persons,
    To ignorance, knowledge,
    To disillusionment, tenacity of purpose,
    And to multiple vexations, singleness of heart.
    Faced with failure, she held fast to hope,
    Faced with death, she believed in a living future,
    And programme for that future she gave in one word, LOVE.
    Raphael Consedine, pbvm


    Vocation & Formation

    Our Presentation Sisters work to respond with compassion and generosity to the needs of humanity and our common home, the Earth, even as they change over time. To continue and expand  this important work, we welcome others to share Nano’s mission, charism and spirituality, as vowed Sisters, Associates, and Presentation People.

    Sister Sandy Butler is engaged in Formation and Vocation Ministry, here in NL as well as internationally. Sandy is a member of the Union Vocation Promotion Team and is also with the Vocation Promotion Team with the North American Conference of Presentation Sisters. Sandy also serves as a Member of the Congregational Inter-Unit Virtual Novitiate Coordinating Committee, providing experiences for our novices as they journey into becoming part of our international, intercultural and intergenerational Congregation.     She also continues to be involved in Pastoral Care (See the Pastoral Care Read More section on our Ministry page), as well as being Link Sister for our NL Presentation Associate Relationship. (See the Associate section on our Partnering page.)


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