THE CARMELITE nuns in New Ross will be celebrating their order being 200 years in the town on July 20 and to mark that fact they were presented with the town flag on Friday afternoon.
Five members of the local authority, along with three staff members, visited the Mount Carmel convent for the presentation ceremony which was carried out by Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Michael Whelan.
They were met by seven nuns from the order including St. Mary Bridget who formed a ministry in Nigeria where she lived for 10 years.
Cllr. Whelan expressed delight at being able to perform the ceremony and in doing so thanked the Carmelites for “continuing to live in New Ross for the last 200 years”.
He highlighted the fact that when the order first set up locally officials at the time were not “so disposed to their arrival”.
“I would like to welcome you to the town, 200 years later,” he said, and his welcome caused a ripple of laughter among those in attendance.
On a more serious note he commented on the fact that establishing the order in New Ross wouldn’t have been an easy task and the founding sisters would have faced prejudice and bigotry at the time.
“It’s a good thing to be celebrating your arrival now, albeit a bit late,” he said.
“In 1822 you started a lace school in New Ross to give employment to young local women and that lace, ultimately, became known and renowned all over the world,” he added.
Cllr. Whelan acknowledged the fact that New Ross lace became so well known that it was rewarded at both the Chicago and Edinburgh World Fairs and he also commented that it was embedded in the foundation stone of the Parish Church.
“I would like to thank the sisters for giving service to the people of New Ross and thank you for your contribution to the lives of people in the town,” he said.
St. Anne, on behalf of her fellow sisters, thanked the Council for its generous gesture.
“It’s really great to be here to receive the flag from the Council,” she said.
“We decided to have it hanging on Mount Carmel as a sign of closeness with the people of the town and its surrounds,” she added.
“It’s a closeness that spans 200 years and we thank you, our Council, for this privilege.”
There will be two flags now flying from the convent; the New Ross town flag and a Carmelite flag that was designed by the nuns.
Sr. Anne also said the presentation took the sisters by surprise: “We didn’t expect anything like this at all and the people of the town are so good to us.”
The nuns in attendance at the ceremony on Friday included: Sr. Breda, Sr. Anne. St. Mary Brigid, St. Margaret Mary, Sr. Emy and Sr. Anna.
The anniversary mass on mark their 200th anniversary in the town an open air mass will be celebrated at Mount Carmel convent at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday, July 20, which will be open to everyone in the community.
Bishop Denis Brennan and other representatives of the local clergy will be in attendance and following the mass light refreshments will be served.