History of the Community in the Parish:
St. Clare’s Convent was founded in 1924 due to the inspirational benevolence of Elizabeth Barry. She donated her house and property to Most Reverend Dr Mulhern, Bishop of Dromore, with the express wish that a convent be established there. Her generosity has had a profoundly beneficial effect upon the spiritual and educational welfare of all the people in the district.
The decision to found the Convent in Mayobridge was taken on the 3rd October 1922 and the building of the new convent proceeded very shortly after that. The foundation stone was laid and blessed on the 3rd May 1923 by Most Reverend Dr Mulhern.
By January 1924, the following Sisters were chosen for the foundation: Mother Mary Anthony Clune, Mother-in-Charge, Mothers Mary Josephine O’Hare, Mary Dominic Ryan, Mary Elizabeth Corr and Mary Gabriel Breen. They were installed on the 25th February 1924. The rules of the Order were relaxed allowing the Sisters to attend Mass publicly and to teach. They were also allocated duties as sacristan to the Church; Mother Mary Josephine and Mother Mary Bonaventure were appointed assistant teachers in the boys’ school.
Due to legal technicalities, building work on a proposed new school was delayed and, with the existing school being considered unsafe, a temporary classroom, later called the Sodality Room, was built. It, along with two rooms in the Convent, was used to accommodate the pupils pending the completion of the new school.
The new schools were opened on the 20th May 1927. Mother Mary Evangelista was appointed assistant teacher on the 1st February 1926 to replace Mother Mary Bonaventure, who was transferred to Newry as Novice Mistress.
Many Sisters down the years taught in the school and shared the Franciscan Charism with the people of Mayobridge. Sr Attracta, Sr Elizabeth and Sr Josephine, some of our current Sisters, ministered in our school for many, many years. The Sisters continue to help out in the school in various ways.
The Sisters of St Clare have a long history within the Parish. They have been working actively for 91 years and even though they sadly have moved physically into Newry, they are still Ministering in the Parish.
‘Words cannot express the debt of gratitude owed, by the people of Mayobridge, to this Community of Sisters of St Clare, and although they now reside in Newry since 12th February 2010, they are still very much part of Mayobridge.’ (Mayobridge Parish Website)
What type of Ministry (work, activities etc) is/are the Community/Sisters involved in?
The field of Education
Teaching, Chaplaincy, Sacramental talks to parents and children, Parish/School Faith Friends Programme, Parish/School First Communicants Programme, Diocesan Advisory Work for the Arch Diocese of Armagh, Support to children with Special Educational Needs.
Visiting the sick and bereaved, Parish Pastoral Council Work, Spiritual Direction to the Secular Order of Franciscans and The Legion of Mary, Mission Group, Co-ordination of Parish Ministries and Training, Leading of the Holy Communion Liturgies in the absence of the Priest, Lectio Divina Meetings for the Parish on a weekly basis, Organisation of Holy Hours, Sacristan Work, Hospice Volunteer Work, Direction of Recreational Programmes for Older Sisters in Ashgrove Convent, Prayer Ministry to visitors and callers to the Convent, Leading the Junior Choir, Prayer Ministry to the Travelling Community, Leading the Junior Choir, Co-ordination of the annual St Anne’s Day Healing Mass.
Please see the Parish Pastoral Council report for a full description of the various events the Sisters have recently been involved in. This is available for download via the Parish Website: www.mayobridgeparish.com- Events include:
Year of Faith programme of talks. We welcomed the following speakers: Arch-Bishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, Baroness Nuala O’Loan, Sr Briege Mc Kenna, Brenda Rankin-Sands and Mickey Harte.
We have also initiated special Holy Hours to mark the Year Dedicated to Consecrated Life. Each month we welcome a representative from some of the many congregations Ministering in our Diocese and further afield. Already this year we have welcomed: Sr Carmel Clarke, Carmelite, Fr Des Corigan, SMA Father, Triona and Gemma King, Consecrated Virgins, Arch Diocese of Dublin and Fr Joseph Ralph, Dominican Father.
We have developed a Faith Development programme for the First Communicants.
Holy Hour to mark the Year Dedicated Life in the Poor Clare Convent, Mayobridge on Monday 8th June. Sr Frances Connolly RSM will be present to talk of the Mercy Charism.
The NUN RUN to raise funds for the Poor Clare Convent rewiring. There has been a presence of Poor Clare Sisters in the Convent since 1924 and in this Year of Consecrated Life, we hope to organise this family/competitive event to raise funds for our Convent.
Catechism of the Catholic Church- We hope to initiate a Parish based Faith Development programme for young parents and those who wish to deepen their understanding of their Catholic Faith.