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Irish Pioneering Sisters Remembered at International Presentation Association Assembly

More than 80 Presentation Sisters from around the world have gathered in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, for the 6th International Presentation Association (IPA) Assembly.

On Friday, September 21, the delegates followed in the footsteps of Newfoundland’s founding sisters who were four women from Galway.  The IPA sisters took a boat trip in St. John’s Harbour reading the letters of the founding sisters, Magdalen O’ Shaughnessy, Xavier Maloney, Bernard Kirwin, and Xaverius Lynch who arrived in Newfoundland on September 21 1833.

Sister Maureen O’Connell, Union, SW Province Ireland said of the boat trip for the Assembly members, “We were re-living the journey of the four brave sisters from Galway.  Sr. Sharon recounted the story of their arrival, including the hardships of the journey and the heartfelt welcome by the local people. 

“As our own little boat rolled on the Atlantic waves we could well visualise the experience of the pioneering sisters as they approached St. John’s for the first time,” she said.  “For those among our group with Galway connections who knew the story from the Irish side, this was a poignant reminder of the reality from the Newfoundland side, especially of the sisters’ loneliness on their first Presentation Day in exile.”

Roses were thrown into the water honouring each Presentation pioneer and foundation, and Nano Nagle who inspired them all, and the delegates to the Assembly experienced a sense of history and timelessness.

The IPA Assembly is a gathering of Presentation people from every continent.  They include different races, countries, accents, but all are one in the fire of Nano’s love, said organisers.

The Assembly runs from September 21 to 27 in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. \"\\"\\"\"

Presentation Sisters around the world have been preparing for this gathering by daily praying the Assembly Prayer, and by reflecting and responding to the question, what do we see emerging among us as Presentation People on mission?

The theme is, Rock, Sea, Fire, Consciousness Evolving.  The Assembly goals include affirming each sister’s contribution to IPA’s mission, deepening the sense of oneness in the spirit of Nano, lived out in diverse ways and to set clear directions for IPA’s mission in the next five years.

Carol Zinn, SSJ, who was previously an NGO representative at the UN for the Congregation of St. Joseph, gave participants an essential worldview in the task of eradicating poverty, which is the most serious human problem but also a threat to the environment.

Sisters from New Zealand responded to her talk saying, “We’re living in a divided world that is longing for unity; we are a destructive species on this planet needing to mature; we’re in absolute denial.”

by Ann Marie Foley

© CatholicIreland.net 2002-2012



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