Here in St. Brigid's we are proud to be part of the Presentation tradition, built up through the years. The Presentation School is a Chrisitan Catholic group of parents, teachers and management. Together we claim to share a vision of life enabling each individual to become aware of the dignity and value of each person and the interdependence of the human race. We share the values of the Christian Story with others. Our School is a centre for formation, facilitating the growth and development of all sections of the school community and having a special concern for the disadvantaged. We are committed to promoting a just society.
The history of St. Brigid's Secondary School dates back to the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Presentation Congregation was founded in Cork, by Nano Nagle in 1774. On October 2, 1793 the Presentation Sisters came to Killarney. The foundation in Killarney was noted by the annalist with emotion: "This is the first branch transplanted from the parent tree." The initial convent and school in Killarney consisted of three houses in New Street. A new building was completed in 1803 and later an industrial school was added in which girls were taught needlework, crochet, lace making and knitting. The Killareny Lace School became famous. Another building was completed in 1875. In 1948 the Presentation Sisters opened a Secondary School. The foundation stone of St. Brigid's Secondary School was laid in 1950. In 1984 the present extension to the school was completed.
PATRONAGE: ST. BRIGID AND NANO NAGLE
St. Brigid was born at Faughart near Dundalk around 454 A.D. Her father was a nobleman, who had his own band of soldiers. Her mother did not have the same social status as her father. However both Brigid's parents were Christians. Brigid received a very good education and she was also trained in all matters relating to dairying. Brigid grew up to be a beautiful young woman and as she was also very wealthy, many young men wanted to marry her.
In Brigid's youth, Christianity was not really established in Ireland. Pagan ideas were still in the minds and hearts of the people. Even her own parents could not understand her when she decided to devote her life to God. It took Brigid four years to convince her parents that she was sure that she wanted to become a nun.
In 470 A.D., Brigid and seven other girls were professed as nuns. Afterwards, she founded a convent, where there was an oak tree and the place was named Cill Dara, that is, "the church of the oak".
Shortly after arriving in Cill Dara, Brigid started to go out among the people spreading the gospel. She soon realised that the people needed a priest, so she went to Drogheda and persuaded Connlaith to return to Cill Dara with her. Shortly afterwards, Connlaith was consecrated a bishop.
Scores of young women wanted to join Brigid's congregation in Cill Dara. Many young men also came to join Connlaith's congregation also. So the two communities lived closely and shared the same oratory. Strict rules were enforced governing the interaction between the nuns and the monks.
Brigid made many journeys away from Cill Dara. She built her second convent in Ardachadh. She travelled in Munster to Limerick, and in Connaght to Galway and Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon. It is also believed that she travelled to Scotland spreading the gospel. Brigid always enjoyed returning to Cill Dara and she died there in 534 A.D.
She left no written memoirs, no letters so there is a shortage of information about the details of her life. Brigid was very influenced by a sermon she once heard about the Beattitudes. She and seven other nuns decided to concentrate on a particular beattitude. Brigid's choice was "mercy". She showed mercy to all she encountered, the poor, the sick and the hungry.
Nano Nagle was born in Ireland, at Ballygriffin, Co. Cork, in the year 1718. Because of the Penal Laws against Catholics, she was educated first at the local hedge school and later in France. On completing her education, Nano resided in Paris and enjoyed a social life with her sister Ann, among that privileged set of Irish emigrees associated with the Stuart cause. On her return to Ireland in 1746, Nano was appalled by the oppression and enforced ignorance of poor Catholics in Ireland. In spite of her desire to be of help, the task seemed impossible, and she decided to enter the religious life in France and pray for her people. But God's plan for her was otherwise. Like St. Patrick of old, she felt the call of the children of Ireland to return to her native land.
She came back to Cork and started what was to be her life's work. In 1752 Nano Nagle risked imprisonment and even death by opening her first school in a mud cabin, in Cove Lane In Cork. In 1771, she introduced the Ursuline Sisters into Cork, thinking that this would ensure the continuation of her apostolate. But the rule of enclosure observed by the Ursuline Order made this impossible. Nano had to think again. On Christmas Eve, 1775, she founded what was to become the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation by inviting Miss Mary Fouhy, Miss Elizabeth Bourke and Miss Mary Ann Collins to join her in her apostolate to the poor. Her decision was timely for, worn out by her labours for the Irish people, Nano Nagle died on April 26th, 1784. Presentation Sisters are spread throughout the world, in Ireland, England, Newfoundland, Australia, Scotland, Bolivia, Zambia, New Guinea, U.S.A., Phillippines, Ecuador, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Chile.