File photo: The Presentation convent
The Presentation Sisters have said it will be a “sad farewell” when they vacate the Presentation Convent in Kildare town next January.
While they acknowleged that it was in the best interest of the four remaining sisters, the convent has been open for over 185 years in Kildare town, and has provided education to generations in Kildare.
“I was asked to come back and take care of the sisters,” said Sr Cecilia Molloy.
“The eldest is 91 and and while they would love to stay here it was no longer possible because of their ages and requirements. Nobody wants to move and it is never an easy thing to do.”
The four remaining sisters are Sr Mary, Sr Cecilia Ann, Sr Ann and Sr Carmella, who will all leave the convent at the end of January.
“It will be a sad farewell,” she added. “The Presentation Sisters have been here since 1830 when they started off first with the junior school and then primary and then post primary.
“The schools have all since amalgmated and been catered for but there were 30 sisters here at one stage.”
According to Sr Cecilia, the numbers have been declining for years.
“Young people are no longer joining and bit by bit the sisters moved out.
“We have three in Kilcock nursing home. When I was here from 1992 to 98 there were 15 at that time. That’s how it is at the moment.”
The sisters will, however, return next April for a public farewell from the Parish after Easter.
“We will have our own farewell night on January 6, next where we will tell stories and recall times past, but that won’t be open. We don’t want to get too sad about it. And there will be a public farewell after Easter.”
No decision has yet been made about the future use of the Presentation Convent building. However, according to Sr Cecilia it may be used in the future to provide assisted living accomodation.
“But it would need a lot of refurbishment and nothing has been decided yet. The provincial team will be making a decision about the building. A lot of people locally are asking what is going to happen with it and the answer is that we don’t know yet.”
Leading the tributes to the nuns last month was Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, TD, who said the nuns educated three generations of his family.
“The nuns have been here since 1830. I don’t know the exact numbers now, but many of them are elderly but still very active in the community.
“The nuns educated me, and my mother and my grandmother and my wife’s mother.
“Loads of families would have been educated by them over the years.”