Mrs Bellew’s “family”, in Channel Row, consisted of three groups of women- the nuns, girl boarders and parlour boarders. The latter were widows or single women who needed accommodation and who could afford to pay rent or, as they called it, a ‘pension. Some of the lady boarders or ‘parlour boarders’ had personal maids and so had a ‘suite’ of rooms, probably two or even three. [A further instalment of this series will elaborate.] Since penal laws still existed when the nuns came to Dublin, “they did not draw attention to themselves by wearing a religious habit. They conducted their boarding school, looked after the parlour boarders and lived their religious life in common. Their daily routine included the recitation of the Divine Office, meditation, and other prayers.” “the boarders who came to be educated were nieces of the nuns themselves or from other Anglo Norman families.” The Channel Row nuns earned the main part of their living through the boarding school fees and the parlour boarders’ pensions. They were also the recipients of donations in kind: church plate and gifts of money, usually small amounts. Before the banking system as we know it today, a system of “bonds” for the nuns’ dowries, (usually not used during their lifetime) provided income from the associated interest. At times, however, they had to borrow money from friends and family, especially when expected income was overdue. [Details from Kealy’s book] The young ladies’ education will be described in part 5
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.