Just one of the many photographs to be displayed in the Secondary School hall on Thursday.
The Presentation Sisters in Thurles are this year celebrating 200 years in The Cathedral Town and they have a whole series of events planned, starting with a book launch and photo graphic exhibition on Thursday evening in the Secondary School.
The Presentation Sisters in Thurles will kickstart their bicentennial celebrations with a very special event in the Secondary School Assembly Hall on Thursday February 16th - an event not to be missed by any past pupil of the primary or secondary school, or indeed anyone who has had links with the Convent through the ages.
On the night there will be a unique photographic exhibition with images from days of yore inter-twining with the present to help tell the famed and fabled story of the Presentation Sisters in the Cathedral Town.
And, speaking of telling the story of 'The Journey', the launch of “Presentation Sisters Thurles 1817 to 2017” will also take place on the night with local historian and past pupil Jimmy Duggan officiating.
This magnificent publication was researched and penned by Thurles lady Anne Lanigan, who is a past pupil of the primary and secondary schools as well as being a primary teacher in the Presentation for 31 years prior to her retirement at which stage she was Principal.
This publication has been a labour of love for Anne and what emerges through the pages is a brilliant account of the contribution of the Presentation Sisters to the local community through eductional, social, spiritual and economic manifestation. This is a real keepsake and the many photographs included enhance a publication which brought Anne from the accurate, comprehensive archives in the Convent, to the National Gallery, and a host of tangential journeys in between.
“It is a beautiful read and we are thrilled to have it completed and ready for the bicentenary. It would have been a pity to have missed out on the opportunity,” Sr Fidelis Purcell told The Tipperary Star.
The Convent started in Stradavoher in 1817 before moving to Chapel Lane until 1826 when the magnificent Convent was built on its present site. There have been additions through the years, but one element which has remained constant has been the commitment to the people of the area and those who come to the boarding school to listen, learn, develop and grow as young ladies.
Nowadays the Presentation Secondary School, of which 85% of the pupils are from a rural background, has a remarkable 35 feeder schools, while the primary continues to foster a love of learning amongst the infants - sixth class pupils, primarily of the parish of Thurles.
“There is a lot of affection out there for the Presentation and we feel certain that this book and the photographic exhibition will be very interesting for people who have had connections with us at any stage. We are inviting all to come along to view the exhibition - the books will be on sale at just €10 and they will also be available locally thereafter,” Mary B Lanigan-Ryan, Deputy Principal of the Secondary School said - the Principal Marie Collins, just like Sr Mary Paul in the primary school is also a past pupil all the way through before returning as integral members of staff.
Of course, 100 years ago celebrations were also underway to celebrate the Centenary as Sr Evelyn Russell explained. “The whole town was part of the celebrations at the time and there was a parade through Liberty Square to the Convent, with the Confraternity Band leading the way. It was a big thing at the time and rightly so,” she said.
While the celebrations will commence at 7:00pm on Thursday next (February 16th) there will be an opportunity for people to arrive early and view the exhibition - the school assembly hall will be open from about 6:30pm onwards. Former Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin - a past pupil also - who is Chairperson of the Bicentennial Committee, will be MC on what is expected to be an evening of nostalgia, trips down memory lane, and a celebration of the primary and secondary schools and the Convent. The two school choirs will perform together for the first time ever and the Nano Nagle virtues of generosity of spirit and giving will be reflected in the theme “Who will light the lantern.”
“We are very excited about starting off the celebrations and we would love to see our many friends coming along,” Anne Lanigan said.