The Official Opening of McAuley Community Centre took place on Fri night last, May 10th, attended by a large gathering. The McAuley Centre is a wonderful new facility for the local community and is already being used by many community groups.
Michael Keely, Chairman of Parish Committee welcomed everybody to the opening, in particular all those people who have been associated with getting the centre to the point of opening. Much of the funding was provided by the North Tipp Leader Project, and he acknowledged the great work of the Finance Committee who organised the ongoing Lotto Draw which has been very successful to date and all those who continue to support this Lotto.
The Centre was blessed by Canon Eugene Everard, accompanied by Fr Walton and Fr Dunne, and the ribbon was cut by John Cormack who was acknowledged for his commitment and dedication to the fundraising aspect of the project.
A lot of use has been made of the centre since it opened last December.
Sr Breda Coman spoke on behalf of the Sisters of Mercy who donated the building to the community and gave the following history of the house:
“We, the Sisters of Mercy are delighted to be here with you this evening for the official opening of the McAuley Community Centre. As you know we have a long association with this building. The sisters arrived in Templemore in 1863 and their first 2-roomed school had been in the cholera hospital. In 1888 a new primary school was built as the school accommodation was insufficient. It was reported as being ‘large, well ventilated and heated in winter by hot water pipes.’ It was called St Anne’s National School and this school was further added to in the 1930’s until the present St. Joseph’s school was opened in 1950. This building has served the people of Templemore in various ways since 1888 – most notably as St Anne’s Primary School.
It was also Secondary Top (a type of secondary school which functioned within the primary school and where pupils were prepared for the Intermediate Cert) for some 15 years - (by Sr Grace and Sr Carmel) before the Secondary School Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire was opened in 1955 with 55 pupils – (Sr. Assumpta was it first principal.)
Classes continued in this building well into the 1980’s.
It has provided living accommodation for teachers for a number of years more recently it was home to the Community Playschool, it accommodated AA meetings, choir practices, Choice Group, Historical Society, First Aid Classes, Day Care Monthly Socials, Confirmation and Communion meetings, Whist Drives every Sunday night to name but a few.
It also provided living accommodation for sisters in more recent times.
Many of you here have been part of creating the history of this building. Some of you went to school here, others taught here, lived here and held or attended meetings.
This building has frequently been adapted to meet the different requirements of the local area and because of that ability to adapt and change it has continuously served the needs of the local community since 1888. Isn’t it wonderful to think that this tradition is going to continue – and that is why we are here tonight.
The only difference is that the responsibility for the building no longer rests with the sisters. We no longer own this building but we are very pleased with our decision to give it to Templemore Parish Community.
We are so pleased that it is being called the McAuley Community Centre after the Venerable Catherine McAuley foundress of the Sisters of Mercy. She was a remarkable woman of great vision, courage, deep faith, and very single-minded in responding to the needs within the local community. She was an innovator in what she did, but also in how she did things. She invested all her considerable inheritance in a building – Baggot Street Convent from where she reached out to and served those in need – and from where sisters of Mercy have spread all over the world.
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The needs around health and education in Ireland were very well met by the Sisters of Mercy and that is no longer the case but is now well served by many others. We are no longer the large vibrant order which we once were our numbers are diminishing and our age profile is rising. The needs in society are also changing and we are so happy that this building which did meet so many needs since 1888 will still continue to meet the needs which are in our parish today - We all here realise that community, spirituality and faith are really a mainstay in all of our lives. We the Sisters of Mercy are very pleased that this building will be used to promote the work of the parish community – helping us all in our journey of life. We are very happy to be a part of enabling this enterprise and that there are still people of great vision, courage, deep faith, and very single-minded in responding to the needs within the local community.
In this development you have promoted and supported the concept of active community participation and the idea of community development – through self-help, self-reliance and cooperation. You have relied on many of the values that money cannot buy such as volunteerism, commitment, dedication, setting goals, ability to work together and to each other’s gifts and strengths, leadership, community to bring this project to fruition.
It has been beautifully restored and is a community centre to be envied. Congratulations and a resounding ‘well done’ to all involved in its restoration
I will end with a biblical blessing that Catherne McAuley wrote to another great Mercy Sister, Francis Warde, as she set out on a foundation mission to America.
May God bless and animate you with his own divine spirit that you may prove it is Jesus Christ you love and serve with your whole heart. May God preserve and bless you and grant you all the graces and precious gifts that you most need in this new enterprise” .
There were some lovely refreshments available afterwards and people wandered through this resplendent building which will provide a comfortable space for groups large and small to meet and socialize into the future.