Presentation Order – The Early Years

The survival and expansion of the Presentation Order faced significant challenges in the first two decades after the establishment of the first convent, South Presentation. This was partly because Thomas Roche, the man appointed to handle Nano Nagle’s will, embezzled all her money, leaving the nuns with very few resources. The situation improved when Joseph Nagle, Nano’s brother, intervened after Roche’s death in 1799. From 1799 until his own death in 1813, Joseph provided some financial support for the sisters.

Above: Mary Ann (Sr Angela) Collins to Joseph Nagle, 12 June 1800
Above: South Presentation Convent – the convent founded by Nano Nagle in 1775 – is marked here with a red star. The other six convents are the convents founded directly from this parent house. All subsequent Presentation Convents can trace their origins to convents on this map.

Although they had limited financial resources, the fledgling congregation of the Presentation Sisters began to grow and expand. In 1793, they established a convent in Killarney, and the following year one in George’s Hill in Dublin. 

Despite the tumultuous year of 1798, the sisters pressed forward and founded a convent in Waterford. This was quickly followed by the establishment of the North Presentation Convent in Cork in 1799 and the one in Kilkenny in 1800. Within twenty-five years of their first foundation, the Presentation Order had established a further six communities. All subsequent Presentation convents can trace their origins back to one of these primary convents.

‘I was sorry to find…that the fears I always had of Mr Roche’s conduct were not groundless…. [Without support] this poor community [will be] reduced to beggary’.

Mary Ann Collins (Sr Angela) to Joseph Nagle, 12 June 1800

Presentation Order, ‘Family Tree’ of Convents, 1775-1828