Nano Nagle: a heroine in her own time, a saint for our era

Nano Nagle: a heroine in her own time, a saint for our era Statue of Nano Nagle leading the way out of darkness which stands at her birth place in Ballygriffin, Co. Cork.
The Story of Nano Nangle: A Life Lived on the Razor’s Edge

by Anne Lyons PBVM (Messenger Publications, $4.95 /£4.50)

Anne Lyons has been appointed by the Presentation Order as the postulator to promote the cause of the beatification of the order’s foundress Nano Nagle, who died in 1784. The cause was opened on the bicentenary of her death; she was declared a Servant of God in 1994 and Venerable in 2013.

This booklet is intended to promote her cause, and provides a brief summary of her life, her vocation, her order and her spirituality. Not everyone wishes to read a full length biography of such a person – though the names of all the important titles, scholarly and popular, are given. A booklet of this kind serves a different, but very important purpose.

Spiritual life

Sr Lyons wants to emphasise Nano Nagle’s inner spiritual life, as a means by which others may follow her, applying what she experienced and thought as a factor in their own lives. In this way, not-immediately obvious aspects of her life can be developed and so foster a devotion to her cause, and so hasten the day of her beatification. Beyond that her canonisation may take another significant period of time.


The author lays the emphasis on all the important aspects of Nano Nagle’s life. She herself has worked abroad in Pakistan and in Cambodia. The promotion of female education which was so important to Nano Nagle can in some countries be difficult, even dangerous, especially in those countries where for various reasons, social, political, and religious, women’s education (taken so much for granted here in Ireland) is vigorously opposed.

Sr Lyons’ hope is that the combined elements and relevance of Nagle’s life would be quite enough to bring her cause to the fore. The processes of canonisation, as most Catholics in Ireland are aware, are often painfully slow and long delayed for reasons that seem opaque to those outside the Vatican. But here is a cause that truly deserves to be promoted. Reading this pamphlet and passing it on to others would support that cause.