The winding lanes of Cork are where Nano began her work, and today we walked in her footsteps.
The work being in done in me yesterday, continued today as I learned more about this remarkable woman who strode bravely through the laneways of Cork with the intention of meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of those she encountered, Her service to the poor culminated in the gathering of children from the streets and leading them to the schools she established. As Andrea reflected this afternoon, she did more than change lives – she changed Irish society. The Penal laws didn’t destroy the spirit of the Irish people. Despite the lack of food and shelter and security they wanted their children educated.
The more I hear her story the more I am challenged to find ways to include her story in my Brigidine school without feeling like she is being ‘tacked on to ‘ everything we do. What has come through loud and clear over the last few days is that Brigid and Nano share so much in common – faith, service of the poor, courage, and a passion for education. Let’s list the ways so far:
- our waitress who came from a Brigidine school that also celebrated Nano,
- The stories our fellow pilgrim Chanel who is a Brigidine sister, has shared about the similar habits and symbols,
- Lamps and lanterns
- Wealthy families
- The Generous Hospitality of the Presentation Sisters worthy of the the Brigidine title ‘Hearth Woman’
- Today’s ministry to asylum seekers and migrants
- And the lone Brigidine nun buried amidst the Presentation Sisters in the graveyard at Nano Nagle Place. This just topped it for me (so far!)
- Most importantly the impact both schools have in the lives of our students. I am always impressed that our girls go on Practice justice and service after they leave Marian. A “Godincidence” happened today which showed me that just as Brigid’s life is something Marian girls connect with, so too do Presentation girls esteem Nano. An ex Star of the Sea student just happened to come to Cork to visit the museum on the day we were there. She is living in Ireland and took the time to come and connect with Nano – 10 yrs on. That says so much. What a moment it was for Jude!
Nano Nagle Place is a wonderfully interactive museum showcasing her life and ministry. Itwas very clear that this city honours her. Her picture is in every Catholic Church we entered today. Her work is so far reaching. I wonder what she would think of this group of Aussies coming to Ireland to hear about her life’s work.
Nano’s Influence is far reaching!
Bernadette led a short reflective prayer in the graveyard of the sisters and the burial place of Nano. The graveyard brought ‘Communion of the Saints’ into reality. The woman that have served Christ over the centuries resting together and is praying amongst them.
The day ended with a wonderful time of sharing our thoughts and reflections of the day.
“We have found a valiant woman” – Bishop John Butler of Cork 1772
We certainly have.