Thursday, 27 October 2016


Those of you who know the Mallard girls will also know what a talented family they are musically.  It seems they have other talents as well. Marylou Mallard Tucker  is also a gifted poet.  We have posted several of Lulu's poems previously and we are proud to post this special poem written by her on the occasion of St Patrick's Convent and the leaving of the Presentation Sisters.  The Sisters' leave taking ends 160 years of their presence at St Patrick's but the memories they have left us with and the loyalty which they have inspired in us will be here for many, many years to come. Here is Marylou's loving tribute.       

St. Patrick’s Convent  
A beautiful Mass was held in the Presentation Sisters honour
With Archbishop Currie, Father Beresford and Father Wayne,
To celebrate one hundred and sixty years
“Love” was Sister Nano Nagle and her Sisters’ claim to fame.

I was asked by my sister Rosemary
To attend a very special Mass,
It was in honour of the closing of the Convent Home
As our memories kept flowing back to the past.

Prayer beads were received when doing messages for the nuns
As we brought back packages to their sacred place,
Piano at this convent was taught to us by Sister Stephanie
We always carried a happy smile upon our face.

A celebration was held at the parish room
Food and drink was so meticulously prepared,
Seeing fellow students from so many years ago
The gathering showed how much everybody cared.

The highlight for me was seeing Sister Brendan
Sitting there to my surprise,
I went over to her and held her hand
With heartfelt tears that glistened in my eyes.

She remembered me when I told her who I was
As it has been over 45 years,
“The Mallards, Oh yes, I think of you often,
Beautiful singers", the words I did hear.

Sister Catherine had introduced us to Sister Brendan.
Rosemary, Helen, Elizabeth and I,
We sang in harmony, “Come Home Newfoundlander”
They smiled, nodded their heads and sighed.

As I stood there, still holding her precious hands
My heart was lit on fire,
Memories flowing back to when we were little kids
Singing in her fabulous and outstanding well know choir.

Love you always, and think of you fondly when we sing!!!!

Mary Lou (Mallard) Tucker and the Mallard family

This is a lovely tribute to the Sisters who served us so well and particularly to Sr Brendan. Thank you so very much Marylou.

Friday, 21 October 2016


We lost the last of our three schools in 1999. Now we are losing our convent and we have to say goodbye to our good Presentation Sisters.  St Patrick’s Convent and the Presentation Sisters have been an outstanding presence in St Patrick’s Parish for 160 years and it is certainly a great loss for the West End. 

However, we have not lost the wonderful bonds of friendship that developed during our school days at St Patrick’s Convent Schools!  That those friendships are still held dear is evidenced by all the lovely ‘get-together’ pictures we receive.  Brenda Pearcey Cardwell has sent us just such a photo with news of her group of St Patrick’s friends.

Brenda said they started at St Patrick’s, Miss Murphy’s Grade 1 Class, in 1962.  They try to get together throughout the year.  In September they did a painting class at Clay Cafe.  (What a great idea.)  Here they are, friends and sisters – St Patrick’s girls all!
The ladies in the photo are L-R;
Karen Dawe, Audrey Dawe (seated), Lorraine O’Rielley, Debbie Crane, Debbie Doherty, Sharon Pearcey (behind Debbie D), Betty Walsh (back right), Brenda Pearcey (back far left)

Thank you so very much for sharing with us Brenda.  It is really nice to hear from you and your friends and we hope you will keep us up to date on your future meetings.    

Monday, 10 October 2016


We have another wonderful photograph from Eleanor Dalton's family album!  It was taken sometime between the years 1941-1945 and it really is  a valuable piece of St Patrick's Convent History.  We are very grateful to Eleanor for sharing it with us.

We can name some of the Sisters and we are hoping that you will be able to help us with those we don't know. If you can help, please contact us at 

From the back L-R: Sr Patrick, Sr Josephine, Sr Immaculata, Sr Sebastian (maybe), Sr Columba, Sr Celine (maybe), Sr Imelda, Sr Agnes, Mother John, ?, Mother DeSales, Sr Camilla, Fr Jackman, ?, Sr Agatha (maybe)
Who do you know in this historic photo?

Eleanor said the picture was taken at the back entrance of the convent. Since she had no idea who the military priest was, she sent the photo to Frank Galgay who was able to identify the priest.  Eleanor has also sent us a copy of Frank's email, which he has given us permission to post here.
Frank's interesting & informative email
Once again, a very big 'Thank You' to Eleanor for all the help she gives to our School Blog. The pictures are an important part of the history of St Patrick's Convent and Schools and we are proud and pleased to be able to post them on the blog.  Thanks also to Frank Galgay for identifying the priest in this photo and for allowing us to post his reply to Eleanor's email. The interesting information about Fr Jackman is another valuable piece of St Patrick's history. Thank you both very much.

Monday, 3 October 2016


I think by now everyone knows the sad news that St Patrick's Convent is closing and that we will lose the presence of the Presentation Sisters in our Parish. What you might not know is that St Patrick's Parish has a great new website and it has some wonderful features.   I highly recommend it, especially to all you St Patrick's people who now dwell in foreign climes! As well as current events, news and photographs, there is a very informative section on the History of the Parish.  I came across this excellent report of the closing ceremony and have been very kindly permitted to reproduce it here on our School Blog.  I feel it will be of great interest to those of us who were unable to attend.


St. Patrick’s Convent/School Closing – 

Sept 11, 2016


Truly, this is a bittersweet occasion. While we are celebrating the incredible impact the Presentation Sisters had on so many of us, we are also sad because after 160 years they will no longer have a presence at St. Patrick’s Convent.

I am part of four generations who were taught by the Nuns, my mother, my sisters and I, my daughters, and my grandson all attended St. Patrick’s School, as did so many other family members in the West End. I’d like to share some of my experiences at school back in the early 40’s and 50’s.

We were very fortunate that Nano Nagle was a brave woman of faith who came here in 1883 with four nuns to establish schools in Newfoundland, and the rest is history. My generation was the last pupils to attend the Deanery Avenue School. Many of you will remember some of our teachers: Mother Francis, Mother John, Sister Agatha, and Sister Camilla. As children it seemed to us that the nuns knew everything; they were wonderful teachers, our spelling and writing had to be perfect and who will ever forget learning the “Time Tables”.

All of those skills stayed with us for our lifetime. We had all the core subjects and I even remember we were taught Latin for one year. Religion played a big part in our education, daily prayers, Sunday Mass, and you knew on Monday you would be questioned on the sermon. We were taught to respect ourselves and others and that God saw everything we did.

The Nuns were gifted in so many ways. They taught us how to knit, crochet, and do fancy work. It seems there was nothing they couldn’t do, and teach us to do. Perhaps one of their greatest contributions was in the field of music.

St. Patrick’s was so well known for its wonderful school choirs under the direction of Sr. Brendan, and the choir won so many awards and accolades over the years. Many students took their first piano and theory lesson in St. Patrick’s convent. The love of music was nurtured in so many students under the careful instruction of those wonderful Nuns.

I think we all realize how fortunate we were to get such a good education. While we may not have had all the options available to students today, we were enriched by the wonderful skills that were taught to us.

The Patrick Street School opened in 1954 and the nuns continued their work in education. Later things changed and with the end of denominational education, St. Patrick’s School closed in 1996. The sisters remained at the Convent and focused on other ministries; helping the sick, the needy, doing pastoral work and opening the Lantern and the Gathering Place.

The congregation is ageing and some difficult decisions had to be made for the future, one of which was the closure of our Convent.
So, while we are sad that our sisters will not have a presence at St. Patrick’s, we are blessed and grateful for the wonderful years they were with us and the profound impact they had on so many lives. We will be forever grateful to them.

In closing, on behalf of St. Patrick’s Parish Family, I wish them well as another door in ministry opens for them. I want them to know they will be warmly welcomed back to visit at any time. Finally, I invite all of you to join us in the Parish Room for a reception to say good-bye personally.

Mary Skinner – 
Parish Council Representative

Eucharistic Liturgy of Thanksgiving
 Closing of St. Patrick’s Convent 
St. John’s, NL Canada 
September 11, 2016
Address by Sister Betty Rae Lee, 
NL Provincial Leader

We gather here today to celebrate the story of the relationship between the people of St. Patrick’s Parish and the Presentation Sisters for the past one hundred and sixty years. We honor the weaving of our lives together as a small, but also significant part of God’s unfolding dream and we express our deep gratitude to God and to each other for the blessings we have known throughout the years.


The Presentation Story, through which we are connected, began in the mind of God through the dream of a compassionate and visionary woman, Nano Nagle, our Foundress. Known as the “Lady of the Lantern” in Cork, she did all she could to alleviate the sufferings of Ireland’s poor in the 18th century.

Our Presentation Newfoundland and Labrador story began in 1833 when four brave women from Galway, Ireland, Mary Bernard Kirwin, Xavier Mullowney, Magdalen O’Shaughnessy, and Xaverius Lynch arrived in St. John’s on September 21st of that year after a 25 day journey across the rough Atlantic seas.

We owe a debt of gratitude to our faith-filled ancestors and St. Patrick’s Parish plays an important part in our Irish/Newfoundland story. Can you imagine that this treasured booklet is 160 years old? It records our Presentation beginnings here at St. Patrick’s and I read, “On the 10th of January 1856 Sister Mary Clare Waldren, Sister Mary Ignatius Quinlan, Sister Mary Rose Mullally and Sister Mary Regis Halpin, Novice, came from the Motherhouse to establish a house of their Order at Riverhead, in this town, under the authority of the Right Reverend Dr. Mullock, Bishop of St. John’s.” God bless our noble pioneers.

The Annals further reveal the hardships under which the Sisters lived and, no doubt, the people of Riverhead were suffering much at that time also. So many young Sisters died because of the “provisional dwelling” in which they lived which was described as “miserable, cold, damp and uncomfortable”. There are many touching narratives of the faith and acceptance of these brave women. Of one such Sister, Sister M. Agnes Kitchen who died at 36, it was written, “Her resignation to the Divine Will was admirable and her heroic patience edified all. She offered her life as a sacrifice to her Heavenly Spouse and calmly breathed her last sigh. Her life was holy. Her death tranquil.”

Since these beginnings in 1856, 205 Sisters served at St. Patrick’s and over the years they shared their gifts and leadership as they ministered among you in the school and parish. Since most of our time here was connected with the young through the teaching ministry, these memories are most treasured. It is interesting to note that we have a list in our Archives naming every teacher who taught at St. Patrick’s from 1921-1999.

So many of these Sisters who taught at St. Patrick’s have since returned home to God but their memory remains in this place as does the energy of many of your relatives who were so good to them. Some women who lived and ministered among you have left our community to continue to live their Christian call in a different manner. Many others now live in other parts of our province and beyond and they carry with them the memories of their time among you. We cannot forget to acknowledge the women from this parish who, because of the faith, inspiration and encouragement of home and church community became members of our congregation. We acknowledged our beginning with four Sisters. Now we recognize the last community to reside at St. Patrick’s: Sisters Dorothy Baird, Dorothy Corrigan, Marie Furey, Mary Molloy, Frances Pennell and Patricia Whittle. Sisters Marie and Patricia will remain until the building is closed at the end of October this year. Some of you may not know the Sisters who are present in our Church today here today, who served in this parish so I would ask them to stand now. Hopefully some of you can get re-acquainted during the reception afterwards.
As we hold tenderly the lives of these 205 women in a treasured narrative, our hearts are grateful indeed.

In reflecting on the meaning of our common story within home, school and parish over these 160 years, we acknowledge the moments of joy in wonderful connections and the moments of sadness because of misunderstandings and hurts. And that is really the whole of life, the shadow and the sun, the darkness and the light of our lives, both calling out for reconciliation and celebration.

In God’s universal dream for all creation we were drawn together for a time. There is indeed pain for all of us in seeing the Convent close, yet we trust that the God who has led us to this point will continue to be faithful to creating and nurturing life through the next use of this building.

We cannot announce today how the Convent will be used because an agreement for the use of the building, while in process, has not yet been finalized. Hopefully, by the end of October we will be in a position to make an announcement relative to the future of this wonderful and historic building. A new story is waiting to be told in this place.

Before concluding, I would like to say a special thank you to Archbishop Currie, Father Dohey, and to all of you who prepared for and participated in this beautiful Liturgy today and to all of you who have come to share this moment with us. This is a memory we will treasure. In our name I express deep appreciation to you, Mary Skinner, for your kind words of gratitude and we, in turn, extend a heartfelt thank you to the parishioners for your kindness, generosity and support over the years. You have allowed us to share in your lives and you have helped shape our congregational story.

So now the time has come for us to leave this sacred place Strong in this holy company of living faith.  May you know that absence is full of tender presence and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten.

I invite the Sisters to stand and raise their hands over you as I pray a blessing from all  our Presentation   Sisters:
We pray a blessing on you as you journey onward from this moment. As you meet the poor, the sad, the stranger, may you see the face of Christ. May you remember that our love and appreciation for you are etched on our hearts in a bond that unites us forever. And may the power of God’s presence bless us all at this moment of leave taking.


We add our own thanks to the Presentation Sisters who have graced our Parish over the last 160 years.  We were indeed blessed!  

Thank you also to Regina Slaney, Parish Administrative Assistant, for her prompt reply to my  email and for permission to use the above material and photographs.