Waterford city in 1798 was a city of contrasts. There was a thriving import and export trade on the quays. There were many fine Georgian buildings but alongside the wealth there was also much poverty. Bishop Thomas Hussey of Waterford and Lismore invited the sisters to Waterford to help educate the poor of the city.

Three sisters arrived in Waterford in October, moving  into a small house in Jenkin’s Lane. Edmund Rice, a merchant from Callan, Co. Kilkenny, but based in Waterford had leased a plot on Hennessy’s Road for the sisters where they built a small convent. They remained there until 1848 when they moved to a much larger building designed by the Augustus Pugin, the famous architect of ecclesiastical buildings and the Palace of Westminster in London

Edmund Rice remained close to the sisters in Waterford and for many years he oversaw the convent accounts. He was hugely influenced by Nano Nagle and impressed by the work of the Sisters in Waterford. Rice adapted the Rule and Constitutions of the Presentation Sisters for his ‘Society of the Presentation’, which developed into the Presentation and the Christian Brothers. Indeed, he and his six companions took their first vows as religious in the chapel of the Presentation Sisters in Waterford in 1808.

Above: Presentation Convent, Waterford
Above: Waterford Convent account book from 1812. You can see the signature of Edmund Rice on the top of the page.

Family Tree, Waterford