Sr Columbia Fernandez O.P celebrated her Silver Jubilee on the 9 June 2018 in St Dominic’s Priory School Chapel. At the Mass she renewed her Vows she made at her profession 25 years ago.

May she continue to inspire more young women to join her to Praise, to Bless and to Preach.


In April, our Sisters in  the Mission Area of Ireland held their Fourteenth Chapter in Emmaus Retreat and Conference Centre, Swords.  The theme for the Chapter was A Time of Hope.

In May, our Sisters in South Africa held the 23rd Chapter of their Mission Area recently at the Region House in Cape Town. The theme was a line from the Gospel of St John – “Of Christ’s fullness we have all received grace upon grace” (1:16).

Sr Geraldine Marie Smyth, Congregation Councillor was present at the chapter and spent some time with the Sisters there. She has forwarded a gallery of photographs from the Chapter gathering, and of other significant events that happily coincided with her visit.

We are delighted to announce that an exhibition of the Colégio do Bom Sucesso, Lisbon will be opened on the 4th June at 6.30pm in the Offices of Architects, Lisbon. This exhibition shares the wealth of our Heritage.

“Who am I?: And If So How Many?”. Thus the philosopher David Precht famously posed the question in the title of one of his books. Thinking of this reminded me of my own dilemma as I travelled along the road to Killarney on 21 May to become an Irish citizen. I am proud to be a citizen of the country in which I have lived for quite some time. I can now fully take part in the political life and share in the rights and responsibilities that citizenship brings with it.

Will it make me less German though, I pondered? Minister Stanton said some remarkable sentences at the conferring ceremony that will stay with me. He spoke about the gifts, traditions and cultures that we “new Irish” bring to this country. He asked us not to forget them but to feed them into Irish society and thus enrich it.

I remembered that I had been at this crossroad before when I joined the Dominicans. I took on a new identity then but, of course, brought everything with me that had made me me. I am happy to have thrown in my lot with the Cabra Dominicans and hope there has been mutual enrichment.

So who am I today (and how many)? I am an Irish Dominican – with the added spice of a Germanic approach. It strikes me, as I write this on Trinity Sunday, that this confluence of three traditions and cultures means that I will wear the shamrock with a deeper meaning.

                                                                                                                    Sr. Sabine Schratz OP

The beginning of the month of May is here and today I experienced three crocodiles of excited schoolchildren making their hop-skip-jump way past me with teachers and parents taking up the head and tail.  It is not yet 10.00 a.m. The academic year is virtually over.

Getting out from school is one thing but thoughts of the approaching summer holidays with sleep-ins, sleep-overs, sea, sand and sun, rush into the minds of youngsters in May, making them giddy and inattentive. ‘Classrooms without walls’ are the answer to squirming, restless children so teachers plan field trips and out they all go.

But there’s another reality for more than 4,000 children in Ireland. Thoughts, of months with no school, fill them with dread. They are the children who have no place to call ‘home.’ Many of them share one hotel room with parent/parents and siblings. Their space outside school is claustrophobic. They are constantly reminded by anxious, stressed adults, “Be quiet.” “Keep your voices down.” “Don’t jump on the beds.” “Turn that music down.” They are forced to live in strait jackets of respectability, invisible to other ‘normal’ hotel guests. Not allowed to play on the narrow corridors outside their hotel room.

Much of the research, on the importance of play, shows its relationship to the development of children’s thinking. Through play, they learn to construct new knowledge by using what they already know; they develop basic literary and social skills; they make sense of the world. Unstructured, freely-chosen play is a testing ground for life. When children are asked about the activities that make them happy, they invariably say, “Playing with friends.”

Experts tell us that the loss of play in the lives of children results in clinical depression or anxiety. Confining children to an hotel room for a lengthy period of time is a recipe for later psychological and social problems. Why then are we allowing this situation to be normalised? Why aren’t we demanding that our government should take immediate action to address the crisis of homelessness in our country?

A year and a half ago, Fintan O’ Toole wrote an opinion piece in the Irish Times in which he claimed that “the continuing rise of homelessness is a result of political decisions to flog housing off to vulture funds, to stop building social housing, to leave people to the tender mercies of an often rapacious private market.”  He went on to say that homelessness is normal because it has been normalised. He dared to say that there is no housing “crisis” because a crisis is the moment when a problem has to be resolved. So he asked us to be imaginative,  “Remember in 2001 when a foot-and-mouth outbreak was confirmed in Northern Ireland? Remember how every nerve and sinew of the entire state was brought to bear on making sure it didn’t spread? Just think of our homeless children as sick cattle and we’ll have ourselves a proper crisis.”

Is this an exaggeration on Fintan’s part? I don’t think so. Response to a crisis requires an urgent, sharp focus. Things do not happen by chance. Truthful data must be available. A coalition is required of leaders who can put together a process that works and that is committed to outcomes. It’s not good enough for people to shake their heads and say, ”There’s no political will to end homelessness.”

We are in a crisis! We must respond in crisis mode. After all, housing is a pre-condition for everything that children need for healthy lives. Surely that is reason enough to design an enlightened, national response. Let’s do it!


                                                       Maeve Mc Mahon O.P. was honoured in the White House by

                                                       President George H.W. Bush, Senior, as Principal of a School

                                                       of Excellence (1990).

                                                She is presently retired in Dublin, Ireland, but volunteers in

                                         JUST (Jesuit University Support and Training), a tutorial

                                      Programme, in Ballymun, for adults seeking  access to

                                                      Third Level Education.

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Translation of St Dominic in 1233 to a tomb in the Dominican Church, Bologna.

I have been made a servant of the Gospel by a gift of grace from God who gave it to me by the workings of his power. I who am the least of God’s holy people, have been entrusted with this special grace, of proclaiming to the Gentiles the unfathomable treasure of Christ, and of throwing light on the inner workings of the mystery kept hidden through all the ages in God, the Creator of everything. The purpose of this was, that now through the Church, the principalities and ruling forces should learn how deep is the wisdom of God, according to the plan which he had formed from all eternity in Christ Jesus our Lord. Eph. 3: 7-10

Dominic Prayed without ceasing both night and day. Lord, let the holiness and teaching of our father Dominic come to the aid of your Church. May he help us now with his prayers as he once inspired people by his preaching. Amen


Congratulations to  Sr Magdalen OP  who has been recognised

for her ministry to the people of Ballyfermot. Sr Magdalen, has led the art class in Ballyfermot Resource Centre  for more than 20 years. Recently Councillor Vincent Jackson presented her with a special scroll to honour her services to Ballyfermot. An  exhibition of the groups work can be seen at Ballyfermot Library during the coming  month and is worth a visit.

Library spans five centuries, was almost lost due to convent demolition, and contains a   selection of significant 17th-century religious publications

 The Dominican Convent in Taylor’s Hill has donated its library of more than 2000 volumes, built up over five centuries, to NUI Galway at an event in the University Library today (Thursday 17 May). At one stage it looked like this valuable library, a vital part of Galway’s heritage, might be lost to the region due to lack of storage when the Convent building in which it was located had to be demolished.

The University worked closely with the Dominican Sisters to secure the long-term future of the historic library as a major research resource for the local community, academic staff and students on campus and visiting scholars worldwide.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, welcomed the donation: “The Dominican Convent Library is one of Galway’s historic treasures and will be an invaluable resource for teaching and research, engaging a range of audiences not just locally but internationally. The insights it provides into the education of women are especially significant. We also get a great sense of what life was like in the Convent over four centuries and how its community connected with Europe and the wider world.”

The Dominican Convent Library represents the oldest continuously used library in Galway City today. It not only illustrates the place of study in the life of nuns (or women religious) from 1644 onwards, but it also gives testimony to the history of the education of women through the variety of books contained, ranging from dictionaries to theological and language studies. The collection provides insights into female education in Ireland across several centuries and the history of Irish religious, also capturing something of Galway’s history, and that of its academic institutions.

Dominican Library Highlights

There are many highlights in the Dominican Convent Library. It contains a selection of significant 17th-century religious publications including a 1617 edition of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summae Theologicae and a 1616 edition of the life of St. Teresa of Avila – one of the bestsellers in all languages in the early modern period. Not surprisingly there are many works relating to the Dominican order dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. An interesting example is The manner of receiving devout ladies in the Holy Order of St. Dominick, originating in the Dominican Convent in Drogheda, Co. Louth.

Along with religious instruction, the first prospectus for the Boarding School which opened in 1859 includes French and French literature, English, German, Italian, History, Geography and the study of globes, Music and Arithmetic. The variety of languages represented in the library is especially noteworthy and is well represented in the 19th-century Welply Collection, donated by Kate Welply, an aunt of one of the sisters resident in the Convent, which contains titles in French, German and Italian. As befitting an educational institution there are volumes on a wide selection of subjects, ranging from astronomy to travel, from natural science to literature.

From the 1640s, many of the women who joined the Galway Dominican community of nuns came from families belonging to the ‘Tribes’ of the town. Local interest is therefore well represented, particularly by a set of Martin J. Blake’s Blake Family Records (1905).The library also includes volumes of important 19th-century art periodicals such as the Art Journal.

Professor Marie-Louise Coolahan, Discipline of English, commented: “The sheer timespan of the coverage here is remarkable. Teresa of Avila’s Life, for example, was translated across Europe and used as a model by men and women, of all faiths, down through the centuries. It is a landmark in the history of autobiography and to have such an early edition here brings the entire genre to life for our students. I’m particularly delighted the archive is being launched in time for the annual conference on women religious, coming up on 7-8 June. This conference was first held here ten years ago; we’re planning a special preview of collection highlights for our delegates, who will be travelling from the USA, Japan, the UK, Belgium and Portugal, as well as Ireland.”

The Dominican Convent Library is an important addition to the James Hardiman Library’s printed Special Collections and joins a subset of local religious libraries within its collections, including that of St. Anthony’s Franciscan college, Newcastle, and the Henry Library, from St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Tuam, Co. Galway. Details of titles from all three libraries can be viewed on the James Hardiman Library’s catalogue at

John Cox, University Librarian, noted that “We are delighted that the University was able to provide an appropriate home for this great Library at a time when the Dominican Convent needed our support. The region would otherwise have suffered a very significant loss but the future of the collection is now secure. The investment the University has made in excellent facilities for special collections continues to be repaid.”

The University’s Moore Institute will host the annual conference of the History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland on 7 and 8 June. The conference programme is at and includes a paper by Sr. Alberta Lally from the Dominican Convent.

Further Information:  Michelle Ní Chróinín, Press Office, NUI Galway T: 091-493542 E:

About the James Hardiman Library, Special Collections

The Special Collections number over 55,000 titles and include subjects from all of the disciplines taught at the University since its foundation in 1849. Particular subject strengths include Irish history, language and literature, incorporating many rare titles published from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The Dominican Convent collection will significantly augment these holdings.


The University also holds the archives of Conradh na Gaeilge and Mary Robinson, the literary papers of John McGahern and Thomas Kilroy, the archives of a range of theatre companies, the Tim Robinson Collection detailing the geography and topography of Connemara, as well as a number of archives relating to the Northern Ireland Troubles and the archives of several Connacht landed estates.

About NUI Galway
The University was established in the heart of Galway City, on the west coast of Ireland, in 1845. Since then it has advanced knowledge teaching and learning, through research and innovation, and community engagement.

Over 18,000 students study at NUI Galway, where 2,600 staff provide the very best in research-led education.

NUI Galway’s teaching and research is recognised through its consistent rise in international rankings. The University is placed in the Top 250 of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2017/2018, as well as the QS World University Rankings 2017/18, which places us in the Top 1% worldwide.

With an extensive network of industry, community and academic collaborators around the world, NUI Galway researchers are tackling some of the most pressing issues of our times. Internationally renowned research centres based here include CÚRAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, Moore Institute, Institute for Life course and Society and The Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy.


NUI Galway has been listed as one of the most beautiful universities in Europe according to Business Insider. For more information visit or view all NUI Galway news here.

*The University’s official title is National University of Ireland Galway. Please note that the only official abbreviation is NUI Galway.


This year we commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Foundation, in Lisbon. As part of the commemoration former and present staff, friends and colleagues joined together for a celebration of the Eucharist in the former Convent Chapel. Following the mass there was an the exhibition “Ala Moderna del Colégio” was inaugurated.

More information re these future plans can be accessed by clicking here: