By Olivia Bunter
Those who gathered at the Claremont property on 23 March witnessed the blessing and opening of the new Nano Nagle Centre.
The centre originally opened as a prayer house in 1990, its purpose aimed to serve as a residential retreat house and venture for workshops, lectures and days of prayer to the wider community.
Sister Catherine Warner, recently appointed Director for the centre, explained the residential centre’s purpose to act as a retreat for those who are in need of spiritual accompaniment or simply offer a place for reflection.
The Claremont residential community house was named after Irish-born Horona “Nano” Nagle, who helped the oppressed and poor during the penal period of the late 18th-Century.
“It’s a place the Sisters have always been eager for people to come to, for whatever need,” Sr Catherine said.
“Whether they are in need of spiritual direction, or simply a spiritual oasis, it’s here for that reason and I’m here to assist in any way I can.”
Last year marked 300 years since the birth of Nano, who founded the Presentation Sisters in 1775 in hope that the religious order would assist in giving the less fortunate an education.
Nano’s dedication to the poor inspires the remaining Sisters around the world today to continue on in her legacy, a reason in which Sr Catherine expressed her wish to have the new centre named after Nano.
“Ein Karem is what it was called before, which is the Jewish term meaning hospitality,” Sr Catherine added.
“I wanted to call it Nano Nagle Centre after our founder because it’s not just offering hospitality. It offers prayer, accompaniment and hospitality.”
Today, there are more than 2000 Presentation Sisters worldwide, including 43 who reside in Western Australia.
Sr Catherine reflected that the vision of the Sisters is to be women who actively become God’s love, justice and mercy in the world.
“The Sisters celebrate the giftedness of each person,” she said. “Respecting, affirming, accepting and forgiving each individual.”
Before coming to the ministry of spiritual direction, Sr Catherine was in education, acting as a teacher and a principal for some 40 years.
She expressed her delight to see support from the community at the blessing and opening of the new Nano Nagle Centre.
Some 70 people witnessed “the fresh expression of Nano’s spirit reaching out in today’s world”.