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The Girl Gifted With The Light



“What will become of her,”

The mother mused,

As Nano galloped back and forth across the fields —

Not heeding any mark of blame

Or that the insight of her dad

Should see in her a sainted name.

On mounted steed she sprinted on

As if she sat on gifted dreams.

Like any wistful lass,

She dared to risk the unforeseen.


A youth of Ireland’s darkest hour

When education was denied

And alliance split apart,

Nano – gifted with the power of dreams

Grew in sanctions of the heart;

And the Nagle vision served her well

When hidden hope and family means

Provided her escape to France,

Where she with leisure would dispel

Her inborn gifts,

And take to heart the social life

That would her young beliefs enhance.


Being of the upper class

She mingled with the high elite,

Until the morning dawn,

When painful tears awakened her

To service needs at home...

We see her now beyond her years

Her gifts released and blessed.

As onwards through the age of time

Her followers fill her soul’s request,

To be of service in a world of need

And advocate for justice rights –

Or through a giving hand, a smile, a prayer

Bring to the down and lowly one,

a ray of lived delight. 


An Integrating Space meeting, the second of its kind for Presentation Sisters (Union), was held in Ireland in June 2017 at the beautiful venue of Mount St Anne’s Retreat and Conference Centre, Killenard, Co Laois.

It provided Presentation Sisters with the opportunity of furthering the work of seven new and exciting Transformative Initiatives.


In this way of meeting together, the Sisters shared, “Great attention is given to ‘how we are together’ as well as ‘what we are about’. Moreover, each Transformative Initiative is examined in the light of all the Initiatives, i.e., ‘in the light of the whole’. This enables a greater degree of integration than would otherwise be possible. Moreover, it allows the participants to experience a process of ‘whole-making’.”

            The word ‘catholic’ simply means ‘through-the whole’ or ‘throughout-the-whole’, like yeast that leavens bread. The word catholic connotes an active presence of ‘whole–making’ or leavening the stuff of life to create a greater whole …. The word church (or ecclesia) … means ‘those called out’ as in those called to be whole-makers in the world…’ – Ilia Delio, OSF, The Emergent Christ (2011)

In preparation for this year’s Integrating Space meeting, Sr Joan O’Sullivan PBVM Province Leader, USA, invited poet, Sr Maura Fitzimons PBVM, to compose a poem about Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Sisters, which would provide an inspiration for the work of the meeting and beyond. Maura lives and ministers in Shaw, Mississippi. We express our gratitude to her for this beautiful offering. As we prepare to mark the Tercentenary of the Birth of Nano Nagle in 2018, may it inspire others to give creative expression to how the inspiring story of Nano Nagle’s life and vision can be a light for our path as we work together for justice, peace and the integrity of creation.   

Submitted by: Sr Joan O’Sullivan PBVM

Categories: Reflection