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Sisters and Associates from Fargo Make Pilgrimage to Ireland



Click on image to listen to On Holy Ground
by John Michael Talbot

On Holy Ground was chosen as the Pilgrimage theme. Each day was book-ended with prayer, song and reflection and singing John Michael Talbot’s On Holy Ground marked the beginning and end of each day on the bus.

Blessing of scarves at Franciscan
Friary, Killarney

Associate Judy Drew sewed cozy shamrock scarves which were blessed after Sunday Mass at the Franciscan Friary in Killarney.

Front row (L-R): Srs Marie Glennon, Elizabeth
Maxwell, Jacinta (Cindy) Maritato
Back: Mary Hass, S. Anne O’Brien, David
Beauchamp, Artini Beauchamp

The pilgrimage had many highlights, beginning with our stay at St. Anne’s Retreat and Conference Center in Portarlington, where Sr. Elizabeth Maxwell took the group through the Heart Aflame Visitor Center.. Everyone was inspired by Nano’s faith and the continuation of her promotion of justice and peace throughout the world by Presentation community.


Nano Nagle Place, Cork is now open to thepublic following
3 years’ refurbishment and construction work.

A major highlight for many in the pilgrimage group was the visit to the birthplace of the Presentation congregation founded by Nano Nagle in 1775. Sisters Emer and Bride gave the group a tour of South Presentation and Nano Nagle Place in Cork City. Through modern and interactive technology, the group discovered what life was like in eighteenth century Cork and learned how Nano’s vision is still inspiring thousands of people to transform lives around the world. The Presentation Congregation continues to promote education, but is also involved with social inclusion and outreach, human rights and justice, ecology and sustainable living, and health care projects. The Center is well worth a full day to explore. There are still original buildings from Nano’s time and personal artifacts. It was exciting to witness the vibrancy of past, present and future integrated into South Presentation.

Sr  Emma Rooney (center) leads
the graveside prayer service at
South Presentation

There was a short prayer service at Nano Nagle’s graveside and the small door was unlocked in the outer protective enclosure and each pilgrim touched their scarves to Nano’s casket.

At Ballygriffn, the scenic place of Nano’s birth, Sr. Norah spoke to the group about the focus on Eco-spirituality. They then enjoyed lunch and had an opportunity to walk around and explore the beautiful grounds.

The statue of Nano Nagle, holding aloft her lantern,
with two children symbolising her work in educating
the poor children of Cork, in Ballygriffin, Co Cork.

At George’s Hill, Dublin, foundation house of the Fargo, ND congregation, Sr. Marie Therese King gave a walking tour and presentation on Nano’s early years, including the penal laws in effect at the time. The group then visited the crypt, read through Nano’s records, looked through the gallery and enjoyed the warm Presentation hospitality and lovely garden. The group was impressed to observe Sr. Marie Therese greet each of the tenants we met along the way by name. The visit there passed all too quickly.

In Belfast, the group was warmly greeted at Flax Trust by Srs. Mary Turley and Camila Flynn. After enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and delicious scones, there was an update on some of the Cross Community projects with an opportunity to meet with those leading them or participating in them.

The work in Belfast of the Flax Trust to bridge tensions and divides between Catholics and Protestants is ongoing. The projects which they support are uplifting in their hopefulness and understanding that basic people-to-people contact is key to building enduring cooperation. We witnessed steely determination—beneath soft voices and warm smiles—to never go backward…I am grateful for the memories of this pilgrimage and the many reminders I’ll forever carry of this learning experience, of the ongoing mission of the Presentation Sisters to carry forward Nano Nagle’s legacy.

In Kildare, Sr. Anne Keating and several other Presentation Sisters met with us and shared tea and treats while visiting in smaller groups. Each member of the pilgrim group was presented with a St Brigid’s cross, freshly made that day from rushes. We were then accompanied to the Solas Bhride Centre and enjoyed a presentation by the Brigidine Sisters on the unique ecologically sustainable Centre

One evening in Galway, Srs. Bernadette, Kathleen and Anne Fox came to visit with us. The group was so pleased to meet with Presentation Sisters while on pilgrimage. As pilgrim Sandy Huseby said, “Seeing Ireland through the unique legacy of the good works of the Presentation Sisters gave me an enriching experience far beyond my imagining. I thank you, my fellow pilgrims, and the Presentation Sisters for this opportunity.”

In addition to interactions mentioned above, the pilgrimage also included places such as the National Museum, Trinity College and St. Patrick’s in Dublin; Glendalough, Blarney Castle and Gardens, Killarney; The Ring of Kerry, Adare; Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, Clonmacnoise, and the apparition site of Knock.

Comments from pilgrims included appreciation for the grace-filled moments of experiencing the thin places where the boundary between the natural and spiritual world opens up. Looking back and unpacking the experiences and memories, the question from Nano remains for each pilgrim, “What will you choose to do?



Jacinta (Cindy) Maritato
Associate and Pilgrimage organizer

Categories: Faith and Spirituality, Latest News, Congregation