May 30, 2006


Chapter 18 Part 2 of the An Tostal Programme for 1953 is dedicated to the Presentation Convent.
           PATRICK MAHER of Kilrush in Suncroft Parish with his brothers, Thomas and William, made an offer to Fr.Brennan, P.P., Kildare, to found a Convent of Presenta­tion Sisters in Kildare for the education of poor female children. In July, 1829, Father Brennan arranged with the Bishop, Dr. Doyle, that the foundation should be made. The ground on which the convent and Parish Church stand was for disposal and Father Brennan purchased it from Lewis Kelly for £100, aided by Messrs. Maher, Cullen, and Verdon. Father Brennan had the purchase enclosed with a stone wall. A house, garden and school were provided and furnished with every requisite for the Sisters who were to be sent there by the Bishop.
           He drew up a lease of the land and houses for three Sisters named by him to the Bishop. These were Sister Angela Mooney, Sister Augustine Maher and Sister Clare Dillon. Sister Angela was sister of Father Mooney, P.P., Rosenallis (1847-76), who built Capard Church in 1863. Sister Augustine was sister of Father James Maher, P. P., Carlow Graig and aunt of Cardinal Cullen. Sister Clare was from Portlaoise and was aunt of Cuffe of Cuffes, Salesmen, Dublin. Father Brennan reserved a rent of £18 for himself and his successors on condition that the convent would give back portion of the land as a site for a future Parish Church. Sister Angela Mooney was appointed first super­ioress of Kildare by J.K.L. in the Carlow Convent Chapel in the presence of the community and of Sister Augustine Maher, and Sister Clare Dillon who had been professed that day. On Thursday in Easter Week, 1830, at 5 p.m. they arrived in Kildare. A few days later the Sisters opened their school to a small number of pupils. The cottage which housed these pioneer Sisters was on the edge of the road, where the boundary wall stands. A new convent was built in 1839. It was blessed on 22nd, August of that year, and after Mass had been celebrated in it the Sisters took up residence in it. Owing to the increasing number of pupils, Father Nolan, P.P., had the schools adjoining the Convent built in 1869.
In 1854 Sister Catherine Cullen left Kildare to assist in establishing a Presentation Convent in Mountmellick. In 1874, Mothers John Byrne, Paul Fay, Evangelist Kelly and Stanislaus Dunne left Kildare with Mother Xavier Byrne of Presentation Convent, Mountmellick to make a foundation in the far-away mission of Wagga, New South Wales. Their labours were blessed by God as shown by the numerous Presentation Convents now in Australia.
In 1881 the Sodality of the Children of Mary was estab­lished in Kildare Convent Schools by Dr. Kavanagh, P.P., The Infants’ School wing was added in 1902. The architect was Mr. Francis Bergin, and the builders, Messrs. D. & J. Carbery. The late Bishop Cullen with the unanimous consent of the ten Presentation convents in his diocese had all the convents amalgamated. He blessed and opened a Mother House and Novitiate at Mount St. Anne’s, Portarlington. The Second Mother-General was Mother Angela Mooney of the Kildare Convent, grand niece of the Foundress. In 1937, to provide for the increased number of pupils—over 500 were now on roll—a new wing was added. At present there are 660 on roll.

Chapter 18 Part 2 of the An Tostal Programme for 1953 is dedicated to the Presentation Convent.

Posted by mariocorrigan at May 30, 2006 12:33 AM