Making Foundations

Establishing a new convent was a complicated affair. For the most part new foundations were made in response to an invitation. This invitation could originate from various sources: a local community expressing the need for a convent, a generous benefactor seeking to establish a school for underprivileged children, or a request from a parish priest, bishop, or archbishop. Once an invitation was received, the approached convent had to determine if they could spare some sisters for this new endeavour.

If the convent could allocate resources, a sister from the existing convent would usually be chosen to serve as the Mother Superior of the new convent. Often, women from the location where a new convent was planned would train in another convent before returning home to help establish a new foundation. For instance, Lucy Curtayne, who later became Sr Joseph, underwent training at South Presentation Convent in preparation for the foundation in Killarney. Similarly, Teresa Mulally sent women to Cork for training, with the intention that they would return to live in the convent at George’s Hill, Dublin.

When travelling to the new foundation the nuns ‘should not manifest the slightest anxiety to see the curiosities of those places through which they pass, not even the churches or places of devotion; remembering that the principal duty of a Religious is, to remain retired, and far removed from all intercourse with the world’.

‘A Directory for the Religious of the Presentation Order, According to the Practices of the Parent House, founded in the year 1775’, (W.M Hurley, Cork, n.d) p. 265