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UNION OF SISTERS OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

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Nano 300 - A Celebration of Presentation Education in Galway

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03/05/2019

On Thursday 10 May 2018, students from Presentation College Headford, Presentation College, Athenry, Presentation College Currylea, Tuam and Calasanctius College, Oranmore joined forces, coming together for a joyous celebration marking the Tercentenary of Venerable Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Sisters, in the wonderful surrounds of Knock Basilica. 

The original seed of an idea originated in Presentation College, Headford (PCH) and with great persistance and enthusiasm and in cooperation with the outstanding music department in PSH, Ms Ita Cunningham and Ms Siobhan Shaughnessy, elaborate plans were soon in place. 

With the repertoire perfected, instrumentals fine-tuned and dances carefully choreographed, the stage was set for the historical figure of Nano Nagle to be honoured and their ‘Pres’ heritage and identity be celebrated! Former Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh and Presentation College, Headford alumni acted as MC and what unfolded was an evening full of energy, joy, exuberance - mixed at times, with great emotion, nostalgia and melancholy - as they retraced the steps of Nano Nagle from her early life of privilege to her years of selfless service to the poor of Cork and beyond. 

Songs as diverse as Lady of Knock, Heroes, Rule the World and the Presentation anthem One Step Beyond – Who Will Light the Lantern? rang out from the excellent 240-member choir to the accompaniment of the seventy strong orchestra, with ballet and Irish dancing punctuating the chapters of this powerful Presentation story that deserved to be told. 

Guests of honour were the Presentation Sisters who made the journey from the four corners of Ireland to share in the evening’s festivities. Also present was Sylvia Jordan (nee Nagle), resident of Breaffy, Castlebar, Co Mayo, and great-great-great grandniece of the Venerable Nano. Dr Marie Griffin, CEO of CEIST and Bernard Keely, Board of Directors, CEIST were also in attendance. 

Special thanks to Fr Richard Gibbons, PP in Knock who very kindly made the magnificent surroundings of the Basilica in Knock available and Una Nolan, Director of Music in Knock for her support and assistance in ensuring the success of the event. Sincere thanks to the management, teachers and students of all four Presentation Schools, notably Ita Cunningham and Siobhan Shaughnessy (music department of PCH), PCH Deputy Principal Aisling McAlpine, Principal of Presentation College, Athenry Cathal Moore and his colleague Helen Farrell. From Presentation College Currylea, Tuam, Principal Neasa Cosgrove and her staff Ursula Heffernan, Una O’Brien, Shauna Mannion and Megan Lohan. From Calasanctious College, Oranmore, Principal and Deputy Principal Cora Ní Lionsaigh and Sarah Molloy and teacher Louise Kiernan. A sincere thanks was given to all who gave so generously of their time and talents to ensure the success of this unique event. 

The future of Presentation identity is in safe hands and the question Who Will Light the Lantern? has been answered. 

You can listen to a feature on Midwest Radio’s Faith Alive programme on the life and legacy of Nano Nagle and the Nano 300 celebrations here

Submitted by: Siobhan Shaughnessy

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