‘Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith’.

James 2:18

From the beginning, Nano and her companions – later the Sisters – were actively engaged in ‘works’ of gathering and teaching the children as well as visiting and helping the poverty-stricken families of Cork city.   In this they were driven by their compassion for a people deprived of the basics of a decent living and excluded from the mainstream of society, and by their passion for fairness and equality where there was only injustice and disenfranchisement.

At the same time, we are left in no doubt that the source of their compassion for the poor, their passion for a dignified life for all and their courage to act in spite of the powers of their day lay in their belief in and love for an all-loving ‘almighty’ God, revealed in Jesus Christ. Nano led the way, fired as she was by the Spirit. The hours which she spent in prayer matched her generosity in reaching out day and night to the poor.

Today, Presentation Sisters continue to contemplate the mystery of God and the mystery of creation, the mystery of life – the one great mystery of love. They recognise that the poor are always with us, that injustice against humanity and against creation abounds in our world, that we are daily confronted with wars, with the migration of peoples, with the destruction of nature that threatens the planet itself.

The call to action belongs with the call to love. The Presentation way of life is inspired by a long and loving look at what is, and seeing there both the pain and possibility of life. It is a life of practical freedom to act in response to need. A great Presentation woman Raphael Consedine expressed it like this:

Take down your lantern from its niche and go out!
You may not dwell in firelight certainties,
Secure from drifting fog of doubt and fear.
You may not build yourself confining walls
And say: ‘Thus far, and thus, and thus far shall I walk,
And these things shall I do, and nothing more.’
Go out! For need calls loudly in the winding lanes
And you must seek Christ there.
Your pilgrim heart
Shall urge you still one pace beyond,
And love shall be your lantern-flame.


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Nano Nagle recognised education and lifelong learning as a cornerstone of enabling transformation of all, especially those on the margins of society. Almost 250 years since she began her pioneering work in her schools, education and learning projects are still an intrinsic focus of Presentation Sisters’ ministry across the globe.

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Social and Pastoral

Social exclusion and pastoral care needs are as prevalent in the 21 Century world as they were when Nano Nagle was ministering to the poor and needy of Cork, Ireland, in the 1700s.

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Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation

In Nano Nagle’s childhood years she was fashioned and formed in a secure loving Christian family home amidst the beauty of the landscape of Ballygriffin, Co Cork.

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Faith and Spirituality

Nano’s faith and commitment to God nourished and sustained her during the best of times and, more especially, during the worst of times. For her, “The Almighty [God] is all sufficient.”

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Healthcare and Healing

Nano Nagle recognised that in ministering to people it was often necessary to make provision for care of the body as well as the mind and spirit/soul. She understood the connection between all aspects of the human person.

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