While there is some evidence to suggest that Dominican women were already in Ireland in the 13th century,
our beginnings can only be traced back with certainty to the city of Galway, in the west of Ireland, in 1644.
|In that year (1644) the first women gathered in Galway to live the Dominican way of life. Their life story is a chequered one, through repeated persecution and exile. For some years the group had to leave Galway and go into exile to find a safe haven in convents on mainland Europe.Eventually, in 1686, two sisters, Juliana Nolan and Mary Lynch returned to Galway. Others soon joined them. In 1718 they sent a small group to Dublin. A century later their followers leased a house in Cabra, on the outskirts of Dublin, a convent that was to become the mother-house to many groups of Dominican women around the world.|
|By the 1860′s the community in Cabra was strong enough to send members to other areas in Ireland and as missionaries abroad.|
| Sisters went to S. Africa, Louisiana, Australia.More recently, new missions have opened in
From the archives:
On October 2nd 1955, Bom Sucesso amalgamated with the Congregation but as we know, our connections with Lisbon are much older than 55 years. This year is also the 150th anniversary of the arrival of four sisters from Cabra in response to an appeal for help from the ‘dying’ community. The sisters set out for Lisbon on August 14th, 1860. ( See Honor McCabe’s ‘A Light Undimmed’p.142 ff.) So what was it like, travelling fromDublin toLisbon 150 years ago? All is recorded in a ‘diary’ of the ‘life and adventures…during their nine days residence in the world!’ (See p.253ff in the above mentioned book.)
1860 was also the year of the New Orleans foundation. Perhaps we could remember in a special way at this time the Dominican Sisters in New Orleans whose seven foundresses set out from Cabra 150 years ago on October 9th, arriving in New Orleans the day before Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Little did they know that civil war and yellow fever were among the hardships that lay ahead. The Irish connection was never forgotten – far from it. Each year on 5th November, the day on which the Cabra sisters arrived in New Orleans, both the motherhouse community and Dominican High School celebrate their Irish and Dominican heritage on Founders Day with a ‘Torch and Shamrock’ ceremony. This includes the carrying of the tricolour and ‘shamrock’ in the procession and whenever possible our sisters participate in the celebration. (Last year St Mary’s Congregation amalgamated with six other Dominican Congregations to form the Dominican Sisters of Peace.) Sr Dorothy Dawes, archivist, deserves special mention. Some sisters may remember her from the 1994Galway celebrations and congregation course in Esker. Due to ill-health, she is no longer able to continue her work but she has had a long connection with Sr Terence O’Keeffe and Cabra archives. Both sisters corresponded, researched and worked well together as living links, with mutual interest in the history of the two congregations.
Other anniversaries before the year’s end include the 1840 move in December, of the community from Mount Street to Sion Hill (170 years ago- see M Duggan’s book p.80 ff), the 50th anniversary of the death of M. Benignus Meenan (Nov 17th), and the 135th anniversary of the death Sr Gabriel Hogan, past pupil of St. Mary’s School for the Deaf who devoted 35 years of her life teaching the deaf in Australia. (see M. Duggan’s book p. 238)