Wicklow People

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Orla takes vows to become a nun

IT is twenty years since a past pupil of Loreto Bray has joined the Order, but last Sunday local woman Orla Treacy became the first of two 'old girls' to join the ranks of the Loreto nuns this year.

At a ceremony in the Holy Redeemer Church, Orla's dad, former County Manager Blaise Treacy and mum Imelda, her four brothers and extended family, friends, and members of the Loreto Order gathered at the Bray Church to celebrate her profession.

Fr John O'Connell, Holy Ghost Father Frank Laverty and Jesuit priest Donal Neary officiated at the 90 minute long ceremony, which was all the more special as it was the first time that final vows had been taken in the Holy Redeemer.

Meanwhile, Mary Burkart, who boarded at the Loreto convent and left the school 20 years ago, will take her final vows in Rathfarnham later this year.

After a gap of five years since the last nun joined the Loreto order in Ireland, it is remarkable that both professions this year are past pupils of the Bray school.

Sunday's ceremony brought to a close an eight year long process of joining the Order for Orla, who left Loreto after completing her Leaving Cert in 1991.

Having studied at the Mater Dei Institute, Orla taught religion in Presentation College Cork, but it was after a summer in India with the Loreto order that Orla, then aged 24, decided to join up.

Based now at the Loreto Convent in Rathfarnham, Orla teaches in Crumlin, but is heading to Sudan in the New Year with four other Loreto nuns to establish a Mission in a diocese the size of Italy with just two secondary schools.

Orla admits that it people are often curious about her vocation, but says that people approach the question with 'warmth' and 'fascination.'

'I'd struggled with it (the vocation) since the age of 24 - but this fits very comfortably. It's about the sense of where we feel most at home,' she says.