A new group of nuns is hoping to bring fresh spirituality and hope to a Cork town after the community lost the presence of the Presentation Sisters in 2002.
Four young sisters of the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother, hailing from the US, were installed in Mitchelstown over the weekend by Bishop William Crean who said they would assist in the “pastoral mission” of the parish.
Superior Sr Mary Donovan told The Irish Catholic they will be working in the parish and schools mainly this year, and hope to “help everyone they meet and especially the youth to get closer to the Eucharist and Our Lady”.
She said the loss of religious in the community has been “very difficult for the town, they’ve lost a bit of their spiritual support that they had before and we hope to bring that back”.
In working with young people Sr Mary said it wasn’t about bringing them into religious life or the priesthood, but to help them find their vocations – but if they feel the call “that’s only a good thing”.
“We’re going to play it by ear, we’ll have to see how everyone reacts especially the young people because they haven’t seen religious so we don’t know what their reaction is going to be.
“We’re open to everything, even in our few days walking through the town we’ve had a bit of everything, young people coming up to us and asking us lots of questions – I think it will be interesting.”
The four sisters are Sr Mary from Delaware, Sr Miriam Loveland, Michigan, Sr Megan Murray, Illinois and Sr Rachel Maria Hernandez, Florida. All the sisters were trained in Spain, which is where the order was founded.
The founder of the order Fr Rafael Alonso Reymundo, Reverend Mother Sr Ana and other members of the community attended the Mass welcoming the sisters last Saturday in the parish church.
Parish priest Canon Michael Fitzgerald said Mitchelstown had nuns for 150 years, and that it was an “enormous loss” when they left.
“There’s an amazing interest, these are four women who’ve given up their lives, their family and their country for Christ and that has to have a powerful affect,” he said.
He added that parishioners are “delighted” to have a religious order back again.
There will also be a community of two priests and two brothers arriving in Cork.
Taking up residence in Mallow, they aim to minister and work with young people in the Diocese, in schools and support their families in sharing Faith and life.