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 History of the Sisters of the Presentation Archives

160th Anniversary Video

Sister Paschal turned 102!

By Rosana Madrigal, Director of Communications, Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco

“I am 101, plus 363 days. My birthday is next Sunday, February 22, 2015!” remarked the ever quick witted Sister Paschal Elvin, as she walked into the Presentation Dining room
in San Francisco, to the cheers of more the thirty Sisters who came on Friday, February 20, 2015, for cake and ice cream to mark her 102 birthday.

Sister after Sister shared a memory or a story. Sister Sylvia Llerena told Sister Paschal she wore San Francisco Giants gear because she knows she is still a huge fan. 
Sister Paschal said in agreement, “Just before my one-hundredth birthday, when I met catcher Buster Posey, I asked him about his twins and his face lit up!”

Sister Rosina Conrotto, reminded Sister Paschal that she taught her sister Jermaine Conrotto Case at Saint Mary Elementary School in Gilroy.
When it was revealed that of those present, Sister Eileen Canelo was her only former student from Saint Patrick Elementary School in San Jose,
Sister Paschal exclaimed, “I claim her! She is mine!”


Sister Paschal Elvin, PBVM, (right)
Saint Joseph Presentation High School, Berkeley,
Class of 1929, celebrated her 102 birthday
with Sister Janet Harris, PBVM, (religious name
Sister Mary de Montfort) Presentation High School,
San Francisco, Class of 1948, at the Presentation Convent in San Francisco.

Sister Paschal Elvin, PBVM, (left) celebrated her
102 birthday with Sister Sylvia Llerena (right)
at the Presentation Convent in San Francisco.

Sister Paschal’s rich ministry history started in 1932, teaching fifth grade at Saint Peter and Paul School in San Francisco’s North Beach area.
For the next forty-five years, she taught fifth to eighth grade in Los Angeles, San Lorenzo, San Francisco, Gilroy, and in San Jose at Saint Patrick,
Saint Christopher and Saint John Vianney. In 1963, Sister Paschal moved to Presentation High School, San Jose, where she taught Latin, English and religion. 
In the 1970s, Sister Paschal spent eight years teaching English at West Valley Community College in Saratoga. 
In the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, until 2010, she was on the RCIA team and the moderator of the Over 50s Club at Saint Christopher Parish in San Jose.

When asked how she made it to 102, Sister Paschal said, “By being a good Sister of the Presentation!”


160th Anniversary Celebration

Submitted by Rosana Madrigal, Director of Communications, Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco

Jennifer Mahoney, Congregation Wellness Nurse,
opened the liturgy with a sacred dance.

Sister Antonio Heaphy, PBVM, and other
Union Sisters joined the celebration.

On Sunday, November 16, 2014, we gratefully received several hundred Presentation Sisters, Associates, former Sisters, alumnae, staff, family and supporters who came to the Presentation Motherhouse in San Francisco, California to share in our joy and in thanksgiving for the many ways we have been blessed in our 160 years since our founding in 1854.
We were especially glad to have Sisters from the Union and Sister Joyce Meyer with us.

Liturgy began with a welcome by Sister Stephanie Still, President, Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco. She reminded those gathered that we are standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.

Sister Stephanie said “We are all here today, because somehow, someway, a Presentation Sister spoke to your heart and changed your life.”

Before the liturgy began,the congregation marked the passing of 308 Sisters and 9 Associates with a moment of silence and the tolling of the bell used at funerals.

In his homily, Bishop Daniel Walsh thanked each of the Sisters by name who taught him. He said “Being true to Nano Nagle, you spend yourselves for the poor.” At the conclusion of the liturgy and as a blessing for our meal, Sister Rosina Conrotto asked us to remember in gratitude a Sister who touched or inspired us.Presentation Associate Sionie Del Rosario said, “Sister Nancy McLaughlin immediately came to mind because of her justice work.”The recessional song was Women of Light written by Sister Paula Baker, which states “We’re women called to follow with a vision old but new.

“At the luncheon guests shared Presentation memories and good conversations. Sister Kieran O’Connor lead the gathering in a toast: “Lift your glasses to Nano Nagle, faith carrier of light and for everyone who passes on her legacy. Hold them in your hearts. We are the people of Nano.”

Sister Ann Conlon said “Nano and the original Sisters would be proud of all the Sisters have done and continue to do, especially for the poor and marginalized.”Sister Janet Harris said “I admire the genuine unselfishness of the Sisters and the freedom of spirit to do what needs to be done.”

A video of our history, created by Lisa Olson, Executive Director of the Conference of the Presentation Sisters, was shown after lunch.

Presentation Roots Newsletters

The Sisters of the Presentation invite you to share in their joy of marking their 160th Anniversary of their arrival in San Francisco, California. Presentation Archivist Chris Doan has assembled four online Presentation Roots newsletters looking back at the many ways the spirit of Nano Nagle has been made live in the Sisters’ ministries to the people of God. The Presentation Roots newsletters feature historical photos, interesting facts and insights which you may be delighted find similar to those in your Congregation’s history. You can access these newsletters on the San Francisco website: Presentation Roots Newsletters.

                                 Who Is Nano Nagle?

Nano (full name Honora) Nagle was born in Ballygriffin, County Cork, Ireland in 1718. This was the period in Irish history when the English had imposed the oppressive Penal Laws, which severely limited the Irish people. The Irish were denied access economically, politically, socially, and educationally to the rights and means that would have raised them from the imposed poverty and oppression. It was a crime of treason (punishable by death) to educate the Irish and it was forbidden to practice the Roman Catholic faith.

Because of her family's position and wealth, Nano was sent to be educated in the Irish community then living in Paris.

According to Sister Rose Forest, PBVM, one biographer of Nano, her "stay in the midst of Irish Parisian society was brief, but during this time an incident took place which has become a classic episode in the Presentation story. One morning the charming, wealthy, and beautiful Miss Nagle...was returning from an all-night ball. As her carriage rattled over the cobblestones of a silent street, she saw a small group of poor working people waiting in front a church...for the door to open for early Mass. The contrast between their useful lives and her own empty one devoted to pleasure made a lasting impression on the girl of twenty-two".

Returning to Ireland, other events lead Nano to consider a way that she could help the poor she saw everyday in Cork and on the family estate. Distressed by the ignorance of the Irish in both faith and academics, she opened her first school in 1754 with an enrollment of thirty-five girls in a two-room cabin. This began her great work of education and as some historians have noted, her important work in saving the Irish culture.

Without regard for her own safety, she selflessly educated the children during the day and visited and nursed the sick by night. As a result, she became known in Cork as the Lady with the Lantern, the symbol of the Sisters of the Presentation worldwide. Today the people of Ireland, especially in Cork, who attribute their freedom to her, revere her.

Eventually, realizing the need for a group to continue her work after her death, Nano founded the Sisters of the Presentation on December 24, 1775.

Nano died from tuberculosis, Monday, April 26, 1784. According to Sister Rose’s account, "On her deathbed Mother Nagle gave to her daughters the following injuction: 'Love one another as you have hitherto done.' As her legacy she bequeathed to them the treasure which she prized above all the wealth of the earth - the love of the poor of Jesus Christ. She bade her Sisters 'Spend yourself for the poor.'"

In the years since Nano's death, the Sisters of the Presentation have carried her spirit around the world in a variety of ministries.

You can learn more about our amazing foundress of the Sisters of the Presentation by reading One Pace Beyond. It is available for $15.00 at our shopping cart at http://www.presentationsisterssf.org/shopsite_sc/store/html/index.html. This biography by Sister Raphael Consedine, PBVM, tells the story of Ireland under the Penal Laws and Nano Nagle’s courageous and unique response to the poverty and oppression. For the millennium, the Irish people voted Nano Nagle, the most influential person in Irish history from 1,000 to 2,000!

Living the Legacy 2014

2014 Jubilee Stories San Francisco and San Jose

Presentation Sisters Celebrate Jubilees in San Jose

By Rosana Madrigal, Director of Communications, Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco
Two Sisters of the Presentation (San Francisco) celebrated their jubilees to mark significant milestones in their lives as women religious, on Saturday, May 24, 2014, with a Eucharistic Celebration followed by brunch at Presentation High School in San Jose.

Sister Rosemary Campi, PBVM, (religious name Sister Mary David) celebrates her Jubilee of Grace marking seventy years from her entrance into the Congregation on August 1, 1944.

                     Sister Rosemary earned a BS degree in Biological Science from the University of San Francisco and a MAT in Biology from Loyola-Marymount University. In 1945, she began teaching second to sixth graders at Saint Anne and Saint Agnes Schools in San Francisco. In 1950, Sister Rosemary began a thirty year career as a high school educator at Presentation high schools in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose. In 1960, she received the National Science Teachers Association Science Teacher Achievement Award. She co-authored a biology lab manual and taught supervisory personnel from other schools in a program at the University of California, Berkeley.

In the 1970s, Sister Rosemary joined the administrative team at Presentation High School, San Jose, and she helped found and operatean environmental education program for elementary school children at Presentation Retreat Center, Los Gatos.

During the 1970s, Sister Rosemary also began her years as a full-time biology instructor at community colleges, including twenty years at San Jose City College.

Currently, Sister Rosemary serves as a Member, the Diocese of San Jose Anti-Human Trafficking Network and the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking; and is a volunteer at Sacred Heart Community Services, San Jose.

Sister Joan Riordan, PBVM, (religious name Sister Mary Gerard) celebrates her Diamond Jubilee marking sixty years from her Profession into the Congregation on January 3, 1954. 

Sister Joan earned her BA in liberal arts from the University of San Francisco and an MA in English Literature from Holy Names College, Oakland and lifetime credentials in all three teaching levels. In 1953, Sister Joan began forty-eight years of teaching students in elementary schools, high schools, and community colleges in San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, and southern California.

In June, 2000, Sister Joan retired from full time teaching, and took a sabbatical at Holy Names College in Oakland to pursue studies in spirituality and environmental issues.

From 2005 to 2010, Sister Joan returned to teaching as an instructor at Evergreen Community College, San Jose.

Currently, Sister Joan serves as Councilor for the Sisters of the Presentation.


Sister Rosemary Campi, PBVM, (left)
and Sister Joan Riordan, PBVM,
read their vows in the chapel
of Presentation High School in San Jose.


Pictured here in the front pew of
the School’s Chapel (from left to right)
are Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Oakland,
the Most Reverend John S. Cummins,
Sister Joan Riordan, PBVM, Diamond Jubilee,
and Sister Rosemary Campi, PBVM, Grace Jubilee.



2014 Presentation Sisters Celebrate Jubilees in San Francisco


By Rosana Madrigal, Director of Communications, Sisters of the Presentation, San Francisco




Three Sisters of the Presentation (San Francisco) celebrated their jubilees to mark
significant milestones in their lives as women religious, on Sunday, April 27, 2014.
The Eucharist Celebration was followed by a lunch at the Motherhouse in San Francisco.






     Pictured here from left to right in the back row are:
           Sister Rita Marie Jovick, PBVM, Diamond Jubilee,
            Sister Corinne Avila, PBVM, Grace Jubilee, and
             Sister Máire Sullivan, PBVM, Diamond Jubilee.

Sister Corinne Avila, PBVM
(baptismal name Mary; religious name Sister Mary Sacred Heart) celebrates her Jubilee of Grace marking seventy years from her entrance into the Congregation on July 8, 1944.

Sister Corinne earned her BA degree the University of San Francisco.  As an elementary school teacher, Sister Corinne taught first grade for thirty-three years at Saint Anthony, Pecos, New Mexico; Saint Teresa School, San Francisco; Saint Columba School, Oakland, Saint John the Baptist School, San Leandro, Our Lady of Lourdes, Los Angeles and Saint Joseph School, Berkeley. Sister Corinne says it was natural for her to teach first grade.

She was the sixth child in a family of sixteen children, so she had spent much of her time looking after her little brothers and sisters.  After retiring from full-time teaching, she worked as a teacher-aide at Nativity School in Menlo Park for more than thirteen years.

In 2004, Sister Corinne moved to the Presentation Motherhouse and since that time has been engaged in various volunteer ministries, as well as overseeing the planting and care of the garden spaces at the Motherhouse.


Sister Rita Marie Jovick, PBVM, celebrates her Diamond Jubilee marking sixty years from her entrance into the Congregation on August 21, 1954. Sister Rita earned her BA degree in education at the University of San Francisco and a MA in educational administration from California State University, Los Angeles.

Sister Rita spent seventeen years, from 1957 to 1990, as an elementary teacher in Catholic schools in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Seattle, Washington. From 1972 to 1977, she served as Principal of Our Lady of Lourdes School, Los Angeles and from 1977 to 1979, as Principal of Saint Joseph the Workman School, Berkeley.

During the 1980s, she ministered as Vice Principal and then Principal at Epiphany School, San Francisco. For seven years, 1990 to 1997, she served as the development director for Together in the Mission of Education (TIME), a consortium of Catholic elementary schools in the Mission District of San Francisco.

In 1998, Sister Rita became Development Director for Capacitar, a nonprofit which tends to mind-body-spirit healing practices for those who have suffered trauma.

In 2006, Sister Rita with two other Presentation Sisters founded El Proyecto de las Rosas, a literacy center for immigrants in Tipton, California, where she continues today.


Sister Máire Sullivan, PBVM,(religious name Sister Ann Marie) celebrates her Diamond Jubilee marking sixty years from her entrance into the  Congregation in 1954.

Sister Máire received a BA in English from San Francisco College for Women. She began teaching elementary school in 1956 and taught in Presentation staffed elementary schools in Berkeley, Menlo Park, San Pedro, San Francisco, Oakland, and Seattle, Washington.

Sister Máire spent four years, from 1971 to 1974, as Principal of Saint Agnes School, San Francisco, and later she returned to Saint Agnes as a parish Sister from 1980 to 1994. In 1995, Sister Máire became an English teacher at Good Samaritan Family Center where she taught immigrant men and women.

In 1999, she founded the Sisters of the Presentation breakfast program for the Day Laborers of San Francisco.

In 2006, she was the founding director of The Lantern Center for Hospitality and Education, a literacy center for immigrants sponsored by the Sisters of the Presentation and located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Currently, Sister Máire continues in this position.

On Sunday, April 27, 2014, a Eucharist Jubilee Celebration took place at the Motherhouse Chapel in San Francisco.

In the front pew from left to right are
Sister Máire Sullivan, PBVM, Diamond Jubilee,
Sister Corinne Avila, PBVM, Grace Jubilee, and
Sister Rita Marie Jovick, PBVM, Diamond Jubilee.

For more stories on Living the Legacy of Nano Nagle  in today’s world, click on the Home Page.




San Francisco Business Times Giving Guide                               





Nano Nagle has been declared Venerable by Pope Francis.

Vatican website announcement 

Vatican City, (VIS) - During a private audience with Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis authorised the Congregation to promulgate the following decrees:


Servant of God Honora “Nano” Nagle (John of God), Irish foundress of the
Union of the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1718-1784) and all Presentation Sisters around the world.




The Cause for Canonization of Nano Nagle

Nano Nagle was declared Venerable by Pope Francis. This announcement brings the Canonisation of Nano Nagle one step closer as it is the second of four stages in the Canonization Process. Nano Nagle’s Cause for Canonization was officially initiated at the bi-centenary of her death in 1984. In 2004, the Central Leadership Team set up a Nano Nagle Commission Office, to help in promoting Nano as a woman of faith and courage, in the hope that she may soon be declared Venerable. The Commission comprises three Presentation Sisters, one from each Irish Province. The Commission has worked to make Nano better known and to promote the Cause of her Canonization. To forward the Cause of Nano, it is imperative that people cultivate devotion to her, and pray to her for favors. Any favors received, no matter how small, needs to be reported to the Commission:

The Nano Nagle Commission Office
Presentation Convent
Portarlington, Co. Laois

Prayer Request link

Nano Miracles
The Miracle of Anne Wallace

This story is one of our most important in the line of miracles for the Canonization of Nano.  For those of you who are not aware of the details of Anne’s story, the following account will be of interest to you.

On the morning of 9th December 1990, Anne Wallace, a physiotherapy student in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Merrion, Dublin, was cycling to class there, when she was involved in a collision with a car.  A doctor, driving to St. Vincents, came on the scene and stopped to administer medical attention.  Anne was very badly injured.  An ambulance came and took her to the Accident and Emergency of the same hospital.  Immediate attention was given.  Anne was unconscious.  She had multiple very serious injuries, external and internal.  She was admitted to the hospital and brought to surgery immediately.  In the meantime her parents, living in Dooradoyle, Limerick, were informed of the accident, and travelled to Dublin in the most dreadful weather conditions. They prayed all the way to Nano, to bring them safely to the hospital. The prognosis was not good.  Many friends of Nano were alerted to pray continually for a miracle.

The medical teams continued to work around the clock administering care and attention.  Anne’s parents kept vigil.  Eventually the doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do.  Anne’s father had grown up with a great love of Nano and consequently a deep - deep devotion to her.  Anne was in and out of consciousness, had further surgery and hung by a thread to life.  Her father always carried the relic of Nano in his pocket, and decided to place it in Anne’s hand while he kept vigil beside her bed.  He entered deep prayer, and sometime in that prayer felt a tip on his shoulder.  No one, only Anne was there.  She was semiconscious. She suddenly spoke and said:  “I am allergic to penicillin”.  That was the changing force.  The medics were informed and they changed her treatment.  Anne began to improve.  That “penicillin idea” came from nowhere, only from Nano, as there had been no talk about it at all.  Anne made a full recovery.

Today Anne is married and has two children.  This in itself is a miracle as she had so many internal injuries.  This miracle in its full details is with the Postulator and also in Rome.

Please continue to pray To Nano for any favors, and let us know if you receive these favors.

For more details contact the Union of Presentation Sisters

Play about Nano Nagle

For more information regarding Nano Nagle and the early Sisters of the Presentation, visit the Archives.

Writings About Nano Nagle

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