Day of Celebration for the Sisters of Mercy
Sr. Rosarii and Sr. Bernadette, the last of the Sisters of Mercy, the founders of our school will leave Rathangan in August. On Tuesday 27th June we held a day of celebration in our school in their honour. Fr. O’Byrne celebrated Mass in the church and this was followed by a celebration in our school hall at which a large number of community members attended.
This was a very special day for us as we celebrated the wonderful work that the Sisters of Mercy have done for Rathangan and for our school, Bunscoil Bhríde in particular. It was with a great sense of appreciation and gratitude that we marked their leaving at our day Celebration Day.
We will not be sad that Sr. Rosarii and Sr. Bernadette are leaving Rathangan, but we will be joyous in celebrating the wonderful legacy they leave in their wake.
The following is a history of the association of the Sisters of Mercy with Rathangan and with our school:
The Convent of Mercy, St. John’s, Rathangan, was founded in 1875 with the arrival of five Mercy sisters from Alton, Staffordshire, England. Since their arrival the Mercy sisters have made a profound and lasting contribution to all aspects of life in Rathangan, especially education.
The following is a brief history of Bunscoil Bhríde.
A Mr. Patrick Kehoe of Dublin, the father of three Mercy sisters of the Alton community in Staffordshire, inherited a substantial sum of money from a friend who wished it should be given to a charitable cause. Mr. Kehoe expressed an interest to Fr. Nolan, parish priest of Rathangan and Kildare that the legacy be devoted to setting up a community for a group of Mercy sisters from the Alton community. A property with a house on site was purchased in Rathangan. It was to this property that 5 Sisters from Alton came in May 1875.
They opened their school on the 1st of June that year. They provided primary education for girls and taught cookery and needle work. A new convent was built in 1879 and the old one was renovated into classrooms. Outhouses were also transformed into classrooms. This remained the girls’ primary school until 1955.
Then in 1955 a new primary school was built on the convent grounds.
The old primary school continued to be used for post primary education until 1986.
The last Mercy Post Primary Principal, St. Brigid Morgan, retired in 1989 and Sr. Bernadette Sheerin continued to teach in Ardscoil Rath Iomgháin until 2006.
The large extension to our school was completed in 2013. Three former Mercy principals officiated at the opening, Sr. Brigid Morgan, Sr. Oliver Heneghan and Sr. Rosarii Murphy.
The Sisters taught in the primary school until 1986. Sr. Rosarii Murphy was the last Mercy principal and Sr. Ailish O’ Brien the last Sister who taught in Bunscoil Bhríde.