Our Story

As Presentation Sisters we are women who have responded to the call to follow Christ in the spirit of our founder Venerable Nano Nagle.

Inspired by her charism and her example, we are dedicated to reaching out to those on the margins by engaging in compassionate service.

We are a Roman Catholic, international religious Congregation. Aware of our interconnectedness with each other and all of creation calls us to a Spirituality of Being in Communion and to awaken to the spirit of God present and active in all of life.

We participate in the mission of Jesus by working for the transformation of unjust systems, the integrity of creation and the flourishing of humanity and the earth.

Our Founder

Nano Nagle was born in Ballygriffin Co Cork in 1718, her work laid the foundation for the voluntary school system and for the wide range of ministries to which Presentation Sisters around the world remain committed to this day.

Our story as a Congregation is rooted in a faith-filled, daring and courageous response to the Penal Laws of 18th Century Ireland. Under those laws Catholics were forbidden to teach or to receive an education.

The daughter of a society family and because of their position and wealth, Nano was sent to be educated in Paris, France. It was during her time there that Nano opened her eyes to the poverty and inequality that she saw around her. On returning to Ireland she also became aware of and distressed by the ignorance of the Irish in both faith and academics. She searched her own heart and responded with a course of action that has, over time, changed thousands of lives across the globe. She began her first schools in 1754, as she believed in the power of education to transform minds and hearts. She worked in the most challenging of circumstances – educating children in secret schools when Penal Laws forbade it, ministering to the wretched and the dispossessed and sharing everything with them till she had scarcely enough resources for herself. Working at times through illness and often through adversity, Nano gave her ‘all’ to the poor and needy of Cork.

Her commitment and love of the poor inspired others to join her. In the 1760s Nano began to plan for the future of her education mission. In 1771 she used money she had inherited from an uncle to build a convent for the Ursuline Sisters, a teaching order, whom she invited to come from France. Urged by her faith and trusting in God’s providence, Nano took the initiative and formed a new religious institute. On Christmas Eve 1775, Nano and three companions Mary Fouhy, Elizabeth Burke and Mary Ann Collins began their Novitiate.

Since then, Presentation Sisters have worked across the globe to secure the breadth of Nano’s vision – crossing geographical, political, religious and social frontiers, bringing her vision to life with deeds, embodying her dream through a variety of ministries, especially education, faith and spirituality, social and pastoral, health care and healing. Her vision is captured in the words that she wrote If I could be of any service in saving souls in any part of the globe, I would willingly do all in my power. Most new convents developed independently but following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) many of these autonomous convents decided to come together and in 1976 they formed the Union of Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – also known as the Presentation Sisters Union.

Before Nano’s death on 26 April 1784, she had opened seven schools for poor children across Cork city, founded an almshouse for poor women, as well as founding the Presentation Order. She is buried at the site of her very first convent, formerly South Presentation, now called Nano Nagle Place.

The world has changed radically since Nano circumvented the Penal Laws by providing schools for the education of poor Catholic girls and boys in Cork city. Yet her lantern light lives on through the world-wide network of Presentation Sisters, Presentation Associates and Friends of Nano, co-workers and colleagues in Presentation schools and centres, and wherever those inspired by her are seeking to make the world a better place.

Today, Venerable Nano Nagle is regarded as one of the great pioneers of Catholic education in Ireland.
In 2013, Nano was declared Venerable by Pope Francis – a fitting recognition of her role as a woman of heroic virtue.

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Nano Nagle Cause

The Nano Nagle Cause is the journey taken in the process towards Beatification and Canonisation of Nano Nagle in the Catholic Church. When Nano was declared Venerable by Pope Francis on 31 October 2013, it was the second step on the path to Sainthood and was achieved in part as a result of tremendous support and background work within the Congregation and from other supporters.

Nano Nagle Commission

The Nano Nagle Commission was an international organisation and they had the privilege of making Nano Nagle known and loved worldwide.

The members were Sr Veronica Casey, pbvm (New Zealand), Sr Grace McKernan, pbvm (Ireland South West), Ms Katherina Broderick (Ireland) and Ms Margaret Rosair (India). They worked to facilitate creative ways to make Nano known, loved and proclaimed as a woman of our time. In 2021 the CLT decided to bring the commission to a close to enable them to have a support group for the Postulator of the Nano Nagle Cause for her Beatification.

The Nano Nagle Commission created a wonderful resource on the Icon of Nano Nagle, which was written by Desmond Kyne. This work began in 2019 when, at the invitation of the Congregational Leadership Team, met in Ireland with Sr Aurea Dias of the CLT to discern how they would address their assigned task of making Nano known. They quickly came to the conclusion that the Icon held the whole story of Nano and would form the basis of their work. You can download the booklet HERE

Congregational Postulator


The Congregational Postulator is Sr Anne Lyons. You can contact her on postulator@pbvm.org

Anne has recently returned from Rome where she was studying at the Pontifical Lateran University. After successfully finishing all exams, she is now officially recognised by the Dicastery of the Saints as Postulator for our Congregation.


You can keep up to date with Anne’s journey with her updates from the Postulator’s Diary.

Anne recently had a book published by Messenger Publications, The Story of Nano Nagle, A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge. You can read a little about the book by clicking on the image. The book can be purchased through Messenger Publications https://www.messenger.ie/product/the-story-of-nano-nagle-a-life-lived-on-the-razors-edge/



Anne was recently contacted by Maria Colfer, Christian Media Trust, Southeast Radio, Wexford with a request to give some radio interviews focused on the life of Nano Nagle and the work of the Postulator in the ongoing Cause of Venerable Nano Nagle. These interviews were aired on the following dates:

Saturday 21 October 2023 from 10.04am – 10.30am Irish time

Saturday 28 October 2023 from 10.04am – 10.30am Irish time

Saturday 4 November 2023 from 10.04am – 10.30am Irish time

The interviews are now available as a podcast on the following link: https://christianmediatrust.ie/

Sr Anne also gave an interview on Radio Maria on 23 August 2023 as part of their series on the theme Can we be Saints. In case you missed it, this interview is available as a podcast on the following link: https://www.radiomaria.ie/category/can-we-be-saints/

On 16 November, 2023 Sr Anne had the pleasure of meeting Pope Francis in Rome and spoke to him about Nano and our Congregation.

Click here to view



Prayer for the Beatification of Nano Nagle

O God, who enkindled in the heart of your servant, Nano Nagle, the fire of your love, and a consuming desire to serve You in any part of the world, grant that we also may love You, and make you much loved. And if it for be for the glory of God, and the salvation of souls, grant that soon she may be raised to the altars of your Church. Through Christ our Lord. Amen