Ciao to the Presentation Family worldwide from Rome, Italy! When I was appointed to the ministry of being the Postulator for our Congregation, I felt that I wanted to have communication with the members of the Congregation, I felt that I wanted to have communication with the members of the Congregation as a priority to me – to keep you updated on what I am doing now and indeed into the future. So here is my first bulletin to you from Rome!
I arrived from Ireland to Rome on 24 September 2020, and was very warmly welcomed by the Christian Brothers, who offered me great care and hospitality for my initial weeks. This was a great blessing, as I began to become familiar with directions, name places and especially how to find my way to Language Classes, which began on 28 September. However, from the outset I was mindful that I needed to find a more permanent residence and preferably with an Italian speaking community.
Providence was once again with me and within two weeks I had procured accommodation with an Italian speaking community, the Congregazione Suore Dorotee di Santa Paola Frasinetti. The initial days with the Sisters were daunting for me, moving around in a huge convent, getting lost and not a word of Italian! That’s eased with the passage of days thank God. Now, I can happily sit with them at meals, listen to the ebb and flow of their various interchanges, with accompanying gesticulations, so particular of the Italians; and smile! It is delightful, but equally acts as both a challenge and an incentive to try to speak Italian more, even when it comes tumbling out backwards!
In the Convent Chapel, the incorrupt body of their Foundress, Paola Frasinetti, canonised in 1984, reposes under the main altar. She had been beatified some forty years earlier. The work of Sainthood is a slow process! She serves as a daily reminder to me of my purpose here – to do all I can to help further the cause of Nano Nagle.
Stadium, the required course for Postulators, is delivered in Italian by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. So, it is vital that I have a good working knowledge of language. On my arrival at the Language School, I discovered that the other three members of my class had dropped out. being the only student at the Beginners Level has both advantages and disadvantages as I am sure you can appreciate! Learning a language is always a challenge, but more so when one is no longer young! My head knows that the focus of these past five weeks, has been to
build a framework for the understanding and speaking of the language. However, there are days when I feel a bit overwhelmed by irregular verbs, and the finer points of grammar! I trust that in time all of this will serve me well. But for now, it is ‘piano, piano’– a lovely Italian way for saying ‘slowly, slowly’ is the reality. I could describe the dynamic of these weeks as “Eat, Pray, and Dream” in Italian.
Like many countries across Europe, Italy and in particular Milan and Rome have experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases. This has resulted in a curfew being once again imposed, but to date there is no mention of a total lockdown and for this I am grateful.
Apart from Language study, there are other areas relating to the role of Postulator that have required attention. I visited the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, where I submitted the required documentation. This week, I will meet with one of the under-secretaries. We have already communicated by phone. He has limited English and I have limited Italian, so that should make for a most interesting visit!
On 21 October, I responded to an invitation from the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr Derek Hannon, to visit with him at the Irish Embassy to the Holy See. That was a very enjoyable meeting. Mr Hannon was especially interested to learn about Nano Nagle, and to understand the nature of my work. He expressed his desire to be of service by whatever means possible to help further Nano Nagle’s cause. I also took the opportunity to connect with Sr Patricia Murray IBVM, Executive Secretary at the UISG headquarters. She has been most helpful to me since my arrival.
On 31 October 2013 Pope Francis declared Nano Nagle, Venerable. I recall so well the shared joy, pride, and enthusiasm, we all felt at that moment of great privilege. In declaring her Venerable, the Church officially recognised and held up to the world the life of this courageous woman, Nano Nagle, as both a witness to the gospel and an example of a faith-filled, and power-filled life. My predecessors worked steadily to this end and with Nano declared Venerable, that completed that phase of the process.
Subsequent to Nano being declared Venerable, we as a Congregation took the decision to continue with the process towards her Beatification and Canonisation, should this be God’s will. The Tercentenary of her death in 2018, our Congregational Gathering, and the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland in summer 2018 was a further period when across the Congregation, we saw a concerted and purposeful focus in our efforts to further Nano’s Cause. However, I am gradually learning how lengthy such a process can be and appreciate, how it can be difficult to keep the passion and enthusiasm for her cause burning, yet that is what we must do! Without an active devotion her Cause will not progress.
The work of the Postulator can be a solitary one. There is a saying: “We are all angels with only one wing, so we must embrace one another if we are to fly.” As the Postulator, I am but one wing! I am very aware that the task of furthering Nano Nagle’s Cause is not and cannot be a solo performance! So, as I begin, I take this opportunity to reach out to you all – Sisters, Friends of Nano, and the worldwide network of the Presentation Family, inviting you to be that other wing. Let us together embrace this sacred work, and ‘fly’ together! Let us do all that we can to actively promote, foster and further a lively devotion to Nano Nagle wherever we are and by whatever means possible, towards the goal of her future Beatification, should it be God’s will.
I will be most happy to hear from you. I am very interested to learn of what is being done in our various Units to further her Cause. Please do feel free to contact me with any incidents or to inform me of favours you have received through Nano’s intercession.
My email address:
Postulator email address: firstname.lastname@example.org