It has been said that Ireland is the “Isle of Missionaries”. Since its foundation, a great number of missionaries of Irish origin have joined our Congregation.
The CCVI Sisters in Ireland
By Sister Rosaleen Harold, CCVI and Sister Sarah Lennon, CCVI
This missionary zeal goes back to the middle of the fifth century, when Saint Patrick brought the Christian faith to Ireland. In the early years of the sixth century, Irish missionaries traveled all over Europe and later went to the Middle East, Africa, China, Japan and Australia. In more recent centuries they traveled to the Americas, preaching the Word of God. Among those missionaries were many Irish Sisters who responded to God’s call to ministry throughout the world.
In 1881, Mother St. Pierre, after a visit to France, traveled to Ireland to meet women who felt called to be part of our mission in Texas. She returned with 15 Irish postulants. Archival records indicate that throughout the next 80 years, approximately 800 Irish women entered our Congregation.
In 1893, Mother Mary John O’Shaughnessy, from Ireland, was elected the General Superior of the Congregation. She gave her enthusiastic support to vocation promotion to invite young women from Ireland to join our Congregation. These Sisters served in various ministries, including schools, social and pastoral services, and health care in the United States and Mexico.
In 1925, the Congregation opened its first convent in Dunmore, County Galway, Ireland, to prepare Irish candidates to become Sisters. During the next 30 years or more, a number of Sisters, including Sisters Florence Byrne, Rose Agnes Quinn and Lucy Murphy, visited schools all over Ireland to invite and encourage young women to consider the possibility of entering religious life as Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
Beginning in the 1980s, our Irish Sisters have had a leadership role in the formation of our Peruvian sisters and in the development of our ministries in Peru. Our Peruvian communities and ministries are now lead by our Peruvian sisters.
The Irish CCVI Sisters have also participated in our mission in Mongu, Zambia, where they have served in health, education and parish ministries.
A number of Irish women and men have also served as Incarnate Word Lay Missionaries in Mexico, Peru and the United States.