Our founder, Nano Nagle

On Christmas Day 1775,  Nano Nagle and three similarly inspired women, Mary Ann Collins, Mary Fuohy and Elizabeth Burke, founded a religious community in Cork in Ireland, to continue Nano’s work in education and outreach.   

The community became known as the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (pbvm). Nano had earlier established secret schools for poor children in Cork at a time in Ireland when access to Catholic education and employment was limited by the penal laws. Her hope was that education would enable the children to engage more fully with life. In addition to her schools, Nano visited the sick and elderly in their homes, often by lantern light, offering love, practical care and comfort. This was a unique and dangerous thing to do. In her later years, Nano established a house for elderly, destitute women. In all of this, Nano was guided by her deep faith and sustained by prayer.   
From humble beginnings, Nano’s Presentation Sisters established schools and transformative, inclusive communities across Ireland and around the world. The first Presentation Sisters in Australia arrived at Richmond, Tasmania in 1866. Over the ensuing years, other groups of Irish Presentation Sisters travelled to Australia, founding independent Presentation congregations in different states from which further foundations were made. 

In 2013, Nano was acknowledged by the Catholic Church as a ‘woman of faith, hope and heroic virtue’ and so, given the title Venerable Nano Nagle.