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Nano Nagle Letters

The collection of letters written from Nano Nagle to Ursuline novice Miss Fitzsimons charts the establishment of the first Ursuline foundation in Cork. Miss Mary Angela Fitzsimons was one of four novices, who, along with Ms. Mary Augustine Coppinger, Ms. Mary Ursula Kavanagh and Ms. Mary Joseph Nagle, were appointed by Nano Nagle to train in the Ursuline monastery in Paris. While it was Nano Nagle’s intention that the novices would assist in setting up a new foundation in Cork, her mission encountered opposition. This opposition emanated from the leaders of the Parisian monastery, who would not permit the four novices to return to Ireland. This was due to an Ursuline rule which stipulated that in the setting up of a new foundation; one professed nun was required to take charge until such time as there were seven professed religious in the community.[8] However, with Nano Nagle’s persistence, and with the help of local clerics Father Patrick Doran and Father Francis Moylan, the four novices arrived in Cobh, Cork, in May 1771, under the authority of an Irish visitation nun Mother Margaret Kelly.[9]



[8] Sr. Assumpta O’Neill, ‘Nano Nagle’s Ursuline friends’, publication date: 2009, available online at the Sisters of Presentation Union, (http://www.presentationsistersunion.org/_uploads/rsfil/02123.pdf) (30 March 2014). 

[9] Catronia Clear, ‘Nano Nagle (1718-1784): educator’, in Irish province of the Society of Jesus, vol. 98, no. 390 (Summer 2009), p. 137.