In celebration of the 300th anniversary of Nano Nagle’s birth and her legacy as an educator of the young, a special statue of her likeness was unveiled and dedicated on April 26 in the courtyard of St. Norbert Catholic School, Orange, California, USA.
Although there are various illustrations that have been made of Venerable Nano Nagle over time, the design of this statue was based on drawings made by a talented St. Norbert art student, thus reflecting the way a modern, young person envisions Nano.
Presiding over the morning event was school principal, Mr. Joseph Ciccoianni, with St. Norbert’s pastor, Father Bruce Patterson, celebrating the statue blessing and dedication. A total of 310 kindergarten through eighth grade students plus teachers and staff attended and participated in the ceremony, at one point singing “Venerable Nano,” a song composed in Nano’s honor by Presentation Sister Cecilia Malloy. In addition to more than 50 parish guests, all Presentation Sisters residing in the southern California area able to attend witnessed the event.
As part of the dedication, Mr. Ciccoianni gave two special gifts to Presentation Sisters representative, Sister Breda Christopher, on behalf of the school. The first was a United States flag that had been flown over the nation’s capital in Nano’s honor on November 21, 2015. The second was a ribbon-tied sheaf of 140 letters composed by the students to be presented to Pope Francis in support of the canonization of Venerable Nano.
Following the dedication, guests were hosted at a sumptuous reception by members of the St. Norbert Church Friends of Nano lay organization.
For those who may not know, in the mid 1700s Nano Nagle founded the religious order of the Presentation Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary to carry on her work in Ireland educating Irish children and feeding and caring for the poor. The order currently operates schools around the world. Nano’s legacy at St. Norbert extends over 50 years when in 1965, just one year after the parish was founded, four Presentation Sisters opened the school where it continues Nano’s legacy of successfully educating young students through the commitment of the principal, faculty and staff. Dedication of this statue is yet another reminder of the loyalty her charism has inspired some 300 years after her birth.