Year of Consecrated Life

Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland & Labrador

In the early 18th century, God spoke to the heart of a young Irish woman, Nano Nagle, calling her to listen to the cry of the poor and the marginalized of her country.  In her generous response to God’s call, Nano went on to become the Foundress of the Presentation Sisters in Ireland in 1776. Her fidelity to the Gospel,  generosity of Spirit and love for the poor have been the inspiration of all who have followed in her footsteps down through the years.

In 1833, at the request of Bishop Michael Fleming, four Presentation Sisters came from Galway, Ireland to Newfoundland to establish schools for the girls and young women of St. John’s. Sisters Bernard Kirwin, Magdalen O’Shaughnessy, Xavier Maloney and Xaverius Lynch were the first to carry Nano’s vision to the shores of Newfoundland , arriving in St. John’s on September 21, 1833. They were also the first to found a Presentation Congregation outside of Ireland. They brought with them the Word of the Gospel, the Charism of Nano, to those made poor and their love for the fine arts and music.

In the ensuing one hundred and eighty-two years of our Presentation history here in Newfoundland and Labrador, numerous parishes welcomed Presentation women who ministered in their schools as teachers and administrators.  In the early 1980’s our focus in ministry broadened extensively - more especially, after our retirement from teaching.  In all ministries we are guided by our Presentation Charism to care for the Earth and to serve those made poor.

We began to work in a variety of ministries: retreat and spirituality centers, homes for the disadvantaged such as the Gathering Place (in collaboration with the Sisters of Mercy) and Xavier House, pastoral care in hospitals and nursing homes, university teaching, counseling and parish work. As well, our Sisters are actively involved in adding a strong voice to issues that affect women in our society, and in other areas of Social Justice, the integrity of the earth and its marginalized people - global concerns that affect the future of us all in our province and in our world. Despite aging and a decline in our numbers, we as Presentation women continue to actively  minister in those areas, trusting in God who alone holds the future.

In November of 2014, the Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland and Labrador received a decree from the Holy See authorizing the fusion of our Congregation with the Union of Presentation Sisters, thus marking for us, the beginning of a new chapter in the life of our Newfoundland and Labrador Congregation and in the lives of those with whom, and for whom, we minister.

So it was that on August 25, 2015 we gathered in the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, St. John’s, with  some thirty representatives from the Union of Presentation Sisters throughout the world, with our Presentation Associates and friends and with each other for a ritual both beautiful and sacred, as we  entered into a new and different phase of our story as Nano Nagle’s  followers. In the presence of all, we committed ourselves  to a wider group that encompasses the Presentation story of Ireland, England, India, United States, Latin America, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Slovakia, Thailand, Zambia, and Zimbabwe -  all of whom form the Union of Presentation Sisters.

In this Year dedicated by Pope Francis to Consecrated Life, we are affirmed and strengthened in our efforts to follow our call as Presentation Sisters, the call of the Gospel, trusting that wherever our journey leads,  a loving God and the lantern beams of Venerable Nano Nagle go before us.