Who were these pioneers in 1717? Women of Faith and Courage! Most of them were of Anglo-Norman ancestry, as their surnames indicate. After six months in Fishers Lane, they moved to a convent in Channel Row, (later renamed N Brunswick St) which had previously been inhabited by Benedictine nuns, and followed by Poor Clare nuns.
Mary Bellew, the leader or prioress, had made profession in 1702; the remaining Sisters were professed between 1712 and 1717: Julia Browne, Ellen [Elinor] Keating, Alicia Rice, Honoria Vaughan, Elizabeth Weever/Weaver, and two blood sisters-Mary and Catherine Plunkett (relatives of Oliver Plunkett). Catherine went on to a Dominican convent in Brussels. Nothing further is known about Mary Plunkett except a record noting her death in 1719.
Mary Bellew “showed remarkable leadership qualities” by opening (1719) “a boarding school for young ladies and a ‘retirement home’ for Catholic ladies in the very heart of Dublin despite the penal laws’ threat of fines and/or imprisonment.”(Kealy)
[to be continued]
From Sr. Maris Stella McKeown, Archivist, Mission Area of Ireland
For more details, see this website link WHO WE ARE, with Drop down menu –HISTORY and BOOKS.
The drop down menu in WHAT WE DO provides insights into how and where the seed, planted in Dublin in 1717, has grown and sprouted other branches in the following three centuries.