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Nano (Honoria) Nagle was born in Ballygriffin, County Cork, Ireland in 1718. She was the founder of the Presentation Sisters and pioneer of Catholic education in Ireland. Her family were devout Catholics who had managed to hold on to their land during the oppressive Penal Law times, when landownership and education were forbidden to Catholics. During her time in the convent Nano struggled with the problem of what to do about the poor in Ireland. Finally Nano decided that she could be of more use to the poor by actively helping them rather than by prayer alone. Nano's motto was "Not Words But Deeds."


She returned to Cork, Ireland in 1750 to set up the first of her schools. It was based in Cove Lane and although Catholic schools were illegal at that time it soon had several hundred pupils. Nano's first school was a mud cabin in a very poor part of town. Nano Nagle spent all of her considerable fortune on establishing schools for the poor of Cork. In the school the children were taught to pray, work, read and write.


Holy Spirit of God, enlighten us to understand how we can use our gifts to give you praise and serve your people in works of justice and mercy.

Teach us to listen, that we may hear your words, give us vision born of faith to know your way for us and courage born of love to follow it.

Give us Nano Nagle’s zeal, so that learning what you would have us to do, we may love and serve according to your will. Direct us, guide us, inspire us and give us a listening and generous heart.




Nano set up her own sisterhood and is officially called the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Presentation Sisters are established in 24 countries worldwide - Antigua, Australia, Bolivia, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Dominica, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Slovakia, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Presentation Sisters were the first female religious group in Ireland to combine religious life with systematic and charitable works. The religious group of women who has chosen to work with Nano eventually became the Presentation Sisters in 1805. The three Presentation Sisters in our Parish are Sr Noreen, Sr Pauline and Sr Veronica.


There are four Presentation Schools in Aotearoa. Three in the Diocese of Wellington and St Peter Chanel School in the Diocese of Dunedin. Our Lady of Kāpati is in Paraparaumu while St Michael's School (Taita) and St Bernadette's School (Naenae) are both in our capital city. St Peter Chanel School Green Island was founded in 1957.

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