FINAL preparations are currently underway for the centenary celebrations of when the Infant Jesus Sisters first came to Ireland and established Drishane convent.
On May 16 over 1,000 past pupils, Sisters and relations of Sisters are expected to travel to Millstreet's Green Glens, where a book and DVD on the history of the order in Ireland will be launched.
Past-pupils Catherine KilBride and Deirdre Raftery have compiled the centenary book entitled, ' The Voyage Out: The Infant Jesus Sisters in Ireland 1909-2009'. Meanwhile, a DVD entitled 'Buíochas' is the work of photographer and past pupil Michelle Cooper Galvin who was joined in the project by Sr Peter Fahy, formerly of Drishane.
Founded by Père Nicolas Barré in Paris in 1662, the Infant Jesus Sisters came to Ireland to recruit Englishspeaking Sisters to teach in Malaya and Japan. In 1909 Drishane Convent was opened with the Novitiate starting simultaneously, led by Mother St Beatrice Foley who returned from Singapore to become Mistress of Novices.
The 1909 opening also saw the opening of the Drishane Knitting School which was attended by 20 young women from the area. Just two years later the Boarding School opened its doors to five pupils and this was followed by the residential School of Housecraft, which was started in 1914. Scoil Iosa also opened in Malahide some 50 years later.
Within a few years of its opening, Drishane was sending Sisters to Malaya and Japan and in later years they travelled to the US, Australia, Thailand, South America and Africa. The Novitiate was also involved in ministries nationally.
At a local level, Drishane also provided employment for many local men on the farm, in the quarry, the lime kilns, the saw mill and the brush factory.
Friends and past pupils of Drishane and Malahide, relations of Sisters past and present and those who have worked with the Sisters in their schools and in other projects at parish and community level are all welcome to join the centenary celebrations. Further information and booking forms are available on www.ijs.ie.