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Celebrating the Tercentenary of the Birth of Nano Nagle in Paraparaumu, New Zealand



The following play ‘The Life of Nano Nagle’ (please see the words to the play below) was written by Michelle Hedge, a teacher of Our Lady of Kapiti School, Paraparaumu, New Zealand and performed by the students of the school to celebrate the Tercentenary of the birth of Nano. To view a selection of photographs from the school and local community and also a recording of the play please click here 

The Life of Nano

When Nano was little there was no school to go to

She learned at home with her sisters and brothers too

A few brave trachers would visit every once in a while

Nano would go to their classes, but it wasn’t really her style!



She disliked lessons and would much rather play

She’d run and climb mountains and play in rivers all day.

She was called a wild child and got in trouble a lot!

Her mother was worried, but her father was not.


Her parents decided to send her to France to school.

She had to travel in secret, and keep her cool.

She could not speak French so was lonely and sad

She lived with strangers, but soon realised it wasn’t so bad!


Her father sent money so she lived a grand life.

Lots of clothes lots of parties and very little strife.

Then she noticed some poor people on a cold, cold day.

They were huddled together waiting to go to Mass and pray.


She felt disheartened and sad and was touched by God’s grace.

‘Awakening to the Mystery of God’ – by artist Mary Southard

She began to wonder about the world and her place. 

After 6 years she returned home with her sister Anne.

She realised helping the poor was her new life plan. 


Nano finally realised that her life meant much more

with the grace of God she would help the poor.

She went back to France and became a nun.

She prayed and worked hard to be a better someone. 


But she really wanted to help poor children to learn. 

So in 1747 back to Ireland she did return.

Secretly, she started a school for needy children;

An empty hut, no desks, no chairs, no books, not even paper or pen. 


At night with a lantern she visited the poor

always hoping and praying she could do more.

One school led to 7 where children happily learned

other people came to help, as respect Nano earned. 


When her money ran out Nano would beg on the street,

she would talk to and pray for the strangers she’d meet.

She was never negative or grumpy, unhappy or mean,

she was cheerful and thoughful despite what she’d seen. 


As time went on, her strength started to fail.

She got sicker and sicker and became very frail.

She was concerned she would die without finding someone,

to take care of teaching the children in the schools she’d begun. 


So she founded a congregation to look after the poor and forlorn,

On Cristmas Eve in 1775 the Presentation Order was born.

We will forever remember Nano Nagle, the lady of the lantern,

and we pray we’ll honour her by always continuing to pray and learn! 


Now as we celebrate 300 years since her birth

We are reminded of her great legacy and life’s worth.

We also remember the people who continue her dream.

May their lanterns of light continue to beam! 

Written by Michelle Hedge


Submitted by: Sr Regina Daly, pbvm

Categories: New Zealand, Tercentenary