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Our Heritage

From our Irish roots to our foundation in Dubuque, Iowa and beyond, we have a long history of apostolic service. We honor those that have come before us with a look at our history and heritage.

The religious community that would become the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded in Cork, Ireland, by Honora "Nano" Nagle on Christmas Eve, 1775. In a 1769 letter to a friend, Nano Nagle wrote, "If I could be of any service in saving souls in any part of the globe, I would willingly do all in my power." Nano's service in the winding lanes quickly earned her the title "The Lady of the Lantern" as she visited the sick, comforted the sorrowing and educated children in the hedgerows. The light of her legacy calls us to go where need calls most loudly and to challenge ourselves to serve one pace beyond.

While Nano's example inspired several other founders of religious orders in Ireland, her sisters also established additional religious foundations in several countries around the world. In 1874 Mother Vincent Hennessy left the Presentation convent in Mooncoin, Ireland, with three young women, to teach the immigrant children of Iowa, establishing the Dubuque Presentation community. Mother Vincent inspired others to live out the Presentation motto, Caritas (love for all). Despite challenging beginnings, the Dubuque Presentation community flourished.

Today, Dubuque Presentation Sisters are involved in educational and pastoral ministries and service to others. Sisters minister in urban and rural areas in the United States and in O'Connor Province of Tarija, Bolivia. Worldwide, over 2000 Presentation Sisters and numerous associates work in 23 countries and network globally through the International Presentation Association.

To learn more about our Heritage:

View our Historical Timeline

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