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“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and minds of all who encounter Jesus. A joy ever new. A joy that is shared.” Pope Francis
Killeshandra artist, Martin Fullen, painted this fine picture of Holy Rosary Convent, Killeshandra, Co Cavan, Ireland, mother-house of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary. Here Founder Bishop Joseph Shanahan brought the first sisters in 1924 to prepare for a life of mission to the women of Africa. The Dominican Sisters from Cabra, Dublin, came too, to guide and mentor the members of the young congregation. From here missionary sisters set out to foreign fields, Nigeria first, then Kenya, South Africa, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ethiopia, Zambia, United States, Brazil, Mexico, Liberia, fulfilling the words of the Gospel: “He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,” Luke 4:8
Bishop Shanahan’s words to the sisters as they set forth: “Teach them the secret of God’s living love in the very centre of their souls.”
_Regional Leader: Sister Paula Molloy Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional Headquarters: Drumullac, 42, Westpark, Artane, Dublin DO5 KOY3
Holy Rosary Generalate: 23, Cross Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin A94 TV27 Telephone: (01)2881708 Email:email@example.com
Charity Number 20004583
Holy Rosary Sisters, Cavan Town, Co Cavan H12 YX53. House 1. Phone: 049 433 2735
House 2: 049433 2733
Publicity Office: 049 433 2736 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also Holy Rosary Sisters, Brookville, Westpark, Artane, Dublin DO5 X3V6. Telephone: (01) 851 0002
Holy Rosary Sisters, 48, Temple Road, Dartry, Dublin DO6 TH92.Telephone: (01) 497 1918
Holy Rosary Sisters, 44, Gaveston Road, Coundon, Coventry, CV6 1GZ Email: email@example.com
The Central Region (Ireland and the United Kingdom) is the Home Region for sisters born in these countries. From here we set off on mission, and to here we come home when it is time to retire.
We never cease to be missionaries, however. We are in constant contact with our sisters in Africa, Brazil and the USA;we continue mission education and fund-raising, through our publicity office in Cavan, and as part of the Irish Missionary Union outreach to parishes, and church-gate collections in the Arch-Diocese of Dublin. This supports the ongoing mission of the congregation – from the beginning the extraordinary generosity of the Irish people has been our support.
We are also involved in parish and prayer ministries, and work with immigrants.In 2014 a new extension had to be built in Brookville, Artane, Dublin, to accommodate sisters coming home to stay, and we struggle to pay off that debt.
We share our joy in mission with friends and benefactors, and hold all, living and dead, in our daily prayers.
Picture (right) shows Sister Juliana Oguekemma speaking at Mass in St Augustine’s Parish in Coventry on Mission Sunday 2019. Sister Julie is from Nigerian and is a pastoral worker in the parish.
Below, Sister Christine Heverin brought visiting African Holy Rosary Sisters to see the Missionary Cross in Killeshandra, erected after we moved from Killeshandra, in memory of the many missionaries who set out from here on their missionary journeys..
On the 24th April 2021 the first Congregation-wide Zoom gathering occurred for the launch of the book, Launch out into the deep by Catherine M Hally.
This book brings the reader back to the first decade of the Congregation’s existence, to its ‘foundation stone’ so to speak, symbolised through the challenges it faced and the manner of its response. It seeks to recognise and acknowledge all who contributed to that endeavour, whatever their contribution may have been – great or small, public or hidden, significant or ordinary – for all played a part in shaping the narrative of the Congregation’s foundation.
“You do not know the millions of souls who will be saved because you are here today,” said Bishop Shanahan to the first sisters on that foundation day in 1924.
On Sunday October 13th 2019 “The First Ten Professed Sisters of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary” by Catherine KilBride was launched in Dominican Convent, Cabra, recalling the important role the Domincan Sisters played in the foundation of the new missionary order in 1924. It was here that Bishop Shanahan brought the first aspirants, to prepare for the founding, and from here they set out for Drumully House in Killeshandra, Co Cavan, with the “Dominican Mothers” to introduce them to religious life and prepare them for the missions.
Present were Sister Franca Onyibor, Congregational Leader, Her Excellency Dr Uzoma Enenike, Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Family members of the first sisters, Holy Rosary and Dominican Sisters, and many friends. The Chief Launcher was Sister Margaret McCurtain, OP, the well-known historian. She spoke of the strange paradox in Irish history after the revolution with its promise of equality for all. The establishment of the new state saw women being pushed back into the home with no place in public life. The 1920’s and 1930’s were a grey and colourless time in Ireland, and yet those years saw the foundation of no fewer than four missionary congregations of women who went to the ends of the earth and transformed the face of mission. This story needs to be told, and needs to be heard, by the men, by the Vatican, she declared!
In her Preface to the book, Prof Deirdre Raftery writes: An area of historical research that has enjoyed significant growth over the past two decades is scholarship on women religious. This book is both timely and important, as congregations of women religious are declining in the Global North, and there is serious danger that their work and legacy will be misunderstood, or not simply understood at all, if they do not preserve their records and start developing systematic accounts of their history.
The Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary (MSHR) are to be commended for taking two initiatives to preserve their very important history: they have built and equipped an archive and have trained a Sister archivist. Now they are in the position to draw on that archive to create evidence based accounts of their early years, and of their First Ten Professed Sisters…..
The Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary occupy an important place in Irish mission history, in women’s history, in the history of education and the history of health-care. The fact that theirs is a history that can be viewed from may different perspectives is itself a testament to the impact and reach of women religious. They emerged in Ireland at a crucial moment in the development of missionary activity, providing women with a means to play an active role in education and health-care in the developing world…..
The book draws on records that allow us to understand something of the personal challenges that the First Ten Professed Sisters faced. In this volume the difficulties of missionary life are balanced with an equally important and sensitive recounting of the joys that the sisters experienced. This has the effect of showing these women to be deeply human. We get to see that their happiness at becoming missionaries was not without personal cost, as they left their homes and novitiate to travel to Africa. We read of their initiatives, their struggles, and their moments of professional success. By the end of the volume we have had the privilege of sharing something of the lives of a group of extraordinary women, who did not see themselves as exceptional in any way….”
Sister Franca Onyibor, Congregational Leader of MSHR expressed her immense gratitude to all who contributed to this book. “I imagine that our first ten professed have great joy witnessing the fact that women from diverse cultures and countries are now standing on their shoulders today, to become one united MSHR family. The event of this book launch inspired warm feelings of how we are each leaving a legacy for the next generation as we live our simple human lives day by day. God’s blessing on us all.”
The First Ten Sisters
Sr M Therese ( Agnes) Ryan, Bailieborough, Co Cavan
Sr M Joseph (Ellen) Burns, Killeshandra, Co Cavan
Sr M Peter (Christina) Shannon, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh
Sr M Brigid (Elizabeth) Ryan, Abbeyleix, Co Laois
Sr M Patrick (Nora) Leddy, Killeshandra, Co Cavan
Sr M John (Bridget) McNally, Lusk, Co Dublin
Sr M Gerard (May) Barrett, Glasthule, Co Dublin
Sr M Philomena (Isabella) Fox, Philadelphia
Sr M Dominic (Georgina) O’Dwyer, Loughrea, Co Galway
Sr M Agnes (Delia) Kearney, Athenry, Co Galway.
Photographs by Paula Nolan
“The Second Burial of Bishop Shanahan”, by Desmond Forristal is available on this website under RESOURCES.
Prayer for the beatification of Bishop Joseph Shanahan, Servant of God.
Lord That I May See!
Almighty God, you blessed your servant Joseph Shanahan with a deep sense of your Presence in all of life. You inspired him with great missionary zeal to spend his life in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Grant that we also may experience your presence in our lives, and give us the same generosity and enthusiasm for the spreading of the Good News.
We ask that if it be in accordance with your Will, the holiness of his life may be acknowledged by the Church for the glory of your Name. Hear our prayers that through his intercession we may obtain the favours we now request.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
* * * * * * * *
“God is our good Father and He alone knows what is best for us and He always does what is best for us.”
“Love and trust Him with love and trust unbounded.” Joseph Shanahan.
Please inform the VicePostulator, Holy Rosary Convent, 23 Cross Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin, or Holy Ghost Fathers, Temple Park, Dublin 6, of favours attributed to the intercession of Bishop Shanahan.
Helping the sisters to come home.
Conchita and Monica discuss with Paul: a new extension had to be built in Brookville to accommodate the sisters retiring from missionary work in Africa and South America; how to pay off the debt? (See: www.knuns.org)
We are filled with gratitude for the extraordinary generosity of our benefactors in the USA and Ireland, who made it possible for us to guild the extension at Brookville in Dublin to accommodate the retired sisters.
Copyright: Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary