Tuesday 22 January 2019

Life and times of Nano Nagle to be recounted at her birthplace

Maria Herlihy

'The World of Nano Nagle in Ireland and Internationally' is the title of a series of lectures to be delivered at Nano Nagle's birthplace in Ballygriffin, Mallow next Saturday. 

The lectures will examine the Ireland in which Nano Nagle grew up in and developed her mission; her maternal ancestry and Nano Nagle's Jacobite heritage and her family's continental networks. 

2018 will mark the birth of Nano Nagle - the founder of the congregation of the Presentation Sisters in 1775 in Cork. Nano Nagle was born into a wealthy Catholic family during the Penal Laws in Ireland. As education was denied to Catholics in Ireland at the time, she was sent to Paris to be educated. 

On returning to Ireland she set up her first school in Douglas Street in Cork City where Nano Nagle Place is now a vibrant heritage centre. Her influence on education in Ireland was enormous, and was later spread to developing countries through the Presentation Sisters. Professor Maurice Bric will speak on 'The Catholic Interest in Late-Eighteenth Century Ireland'. It was a time of challenge for a Catholic Church which wanted to rebuild its structures after years of enforced neglect, to regularise relationships between priests and people, and to define its relationships with the state.

It was also a time when - as an aspect of this new chapter in the Church's history - people like Nano Nagle pioneered the more socially-driven aspects of Catholicism and as such, brought them - and her - into the middle of a debate that was also going on in contemporary Europe about how the Catholic Church should be "reinvented" after the wars of the extended French Revolution.  

To this extent, Nano Nagle inhabited different "worlds" - those of her own background as a member of a network of Catholic families  and  that of a Catholic at a time of change and challenge within her Church, and that of a vocation which sought to interact with the less fortunate at a time when the Church was discussing its "social mission" in new ways.

Other speakers on Saturday, October  20 will be Charles Lysaght, who is a Dublin-based biographer and he will speak on Nano Nagle's mother's side of the family. Nano's mother was Ann Matthew from Thurles. Dr Declan M Downey, School of History, UCD will speak on 'Nano Nagle's Jacobite Heritage and her family's continental networks'.

This presentation will explore and examine the Nagle family's prominence in the Irish Jacobite cause. 

The conference will take place from 10am until 4pm and registration will take place at 9.30am. The cost is €65 which includes a light lunch and advance booking is required on (022)26411.