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Celebration of the Eucharist at Nano Nagle Birthplace



Bishop William Crean of Cloyne was the chief con-celebrant of a special Mass at Nano Nagle Birthplace, Ballygriffin, Co Cork, to mark the Tercentenary of Nano’s birth. 

Sr Mary Deane speaking at Ballygriffin
Presentation Primary School Choir, Mitchelstown

Speaking during the Mass, Sr Mary Deane, Congregational Leader of the Presentation Sisters (Union) referred to “this place where Nano, nourished and nurtured in body, soul and spirit grew strong in the faith of her family, the faith of her ancestors. That faith took root deep in her heart...a faith not confined to buildings, churches, particular devotions or theologies, but a faith rooted in the cycle of everyday life in which God is immersed.”

Sr Mary recalled how “Nano continued to feel disturbed, after seeking advice and following the wisdom of her heart, she realised that maybe God was calling her to return to Ireland, and so she did. Having settled in Cork city with her brother and his wife, she saw an opportunity to respond to the voice of God stirring deep in her heart and so she began in a small way with one school for the children at what is now Douglas Street. As we know from that small beginning, Nano’s work and influence has spread throughout the world.” 

“Today, as we reflect on the gift of Nano’s life and her response to God, we might ask the question as individuals and as communities – what are we disturbed about? How does it impact me? How does it impact us as a family, as a community? Am I able to talk about it? Are we able to talk about it and reflect on it together as we seek to find deeper meanings? In light of this, how do I respond, how do we respond?”

Referring to Nano Nagle Birthplace, Sr Mary said it “provides a space to engage in this deeper journey. A sacred place that honours the story and legacy of Nano, a woman born of this place. A place that reminds us of our inner-connectedness and communion with all of life. A place of prayer, of healing, and hope and a wonderful resource for us all. 

Today, we celebrate the extraordinary contribution that Nano Nagle, a child born of this place, made to the world of her day. A woman who continues to inspire countless people throughout the world today,” she concluded. 

Anne Scully addressing the people
gathered at Ballygriffin

Anne Scully, on behalf of Killavullen Community Council, told the large gathering that Nano Nagle Birthplace is a tribute to the Presentation Sisters of our time, here at home and around the world. “Nano’s flame of faith shines brightly in many lands where her work continues in her name. Education of and love of the poor were the core values of her vocation, and it was here in Ballygriffin that her journey began. In the face of fear, she chose to be daring, in the face of anxiety, she chose to trust, in the face of impossibility, she chose to begin,” she said. 


Mass Gates

The newest feature at Nano Nagle Birthplace is the refurbished Mass Gate. Following the Celebration of the Eucharist, Aileen Kelleher, who played the part of Nano in the Killavullen school drama, led a procession to the garden outside the Prayer Room, where the ‘Mass Gate’ was blessed by Bishop William Crean. Noel Fitzgibbon, who recently restored the Gate was proud to be part of the procession. He explained to the Bishop that he didn’t alter the Gate but merely removed the rust of the years and painted it to weather many more centuries! 



Background History

During the Penal Laws the Nagles built a thatched Mass House near their mansion in Annakissa. The Mass House was used by the local people until the church was opened in 1861. An inscribed stone from this thatched chapel is now on display in Annakissa Church. It reads Pray for the soul of Pierce Nagle who caused this chapel to be built at his own expense for the glory of God. Pierce was a brother of David, Nano’s grandfather who also grew up in Annakissa and later inherited the lands at Ballygriffin. 

To view the recording of the Celebration of the Eucharist, please click here

Submitted by: Sr Mary Hoare, pbvm

Categories: Tercentenary, Nano Nagle Birthplace, Ballygriffin, Co Cork