Ursulines: St. Mary’s

On 6 August, 1816 four Sisters of the Ursuline Community in Thurles made the Waterford foundation in Newpark. They subsequently moved to Newgrove in Newtown, before finally settling at Elysium, Ballytruckle in 1825. It was there that the present Convent began.

Education of girls was the primary aim and from small beginnings there, a flourishing community and educational ministry developed. In 1821 a school for children of the poor was opened. A boarding school was established soon after. In 1844, St. Anne’s School was opened for fee paying students and the Convent building was completed. During intervening years, a thriving primary school, a secondary day school, a boarding school and the first Home Economics College in Ireland (1904) have served the educational needs of many generations. Today, the Ursuline tradition continues in the Primary School, Scoil Naomh Ursula, opened in 1955 and in St. Angela’s Secondary School, an amalgamation of the former boarding and day schools.

In 1948 an Ursuline Community and Junior School were established in Tramore. Some Sisters answered a request to establish a Convent in Sarnia, Canada. This foundation was later incorporated into the Ursuline Union of Chatham in Canada. In 1963 Sisters from Waterford founded a Community in Cabinteely, Dublin and opened a Secondary School. A Junior School was established later. The Cabinteely foundation has developed into a thriving Community School.

Over the years, the Ursuline Community grew from four Sisters to as many as seventy members. Recent years have seen diminishing numbers in the community and a withdrawal from the large monastic type building to more suitable accommodations on the school campus and in two houses in the locality.

The present Ursuline Community in St. Mary’s numbers eleven Sisters, who are engaged in ministries of prayer, parish, education and in services to refugees and to people in need.