History of our Foundation in Ennis, Co. Clare.
One morning in 1930, a young Co. Clare priest, Fr. Joseph Rodgers, celebrated Mass in the Poor Clare Monastery, College Road, Cork. As he was taking breakfast afterwards in the parlour, a Nun spoke to him from behind the curtained grille. In the course of the conversation she remarked that some day with his help the Poor Clares would come to the Diocese of Killaloe. This turned out to be a prophecy. In 1947, Fr. Rodgers was appointed Co-Adjutor Bishop of Killaloe. The same year, Mother M. Columba, Abbess of the Poor Clares in Cork, applied to the Bishop of Killaloe, Dr. Fogarty, for permission to make a foundation there. Although the reply was negative, Dr. Roders who communicated it to Mother Columba, stated that if he were ever in a position to admit the Poor Clares into the Diocese, he would gladly do so. On the death of Bishop Fogarty in 1955, Dr, Rodgers became Bishop of Killaloe and when the Poor Clare Abbess in Cork, Mother Mary Agnes Power, sought admission to the Diocese in 1956, he welcomed the project as the establishment of “ of a power-house of prayer”.
The “Friary Field,” a three and a half acre of land attached to the Franciscan Friary on Francis Street, was very kindly donated by Fr. Hubert Quinn, the Provincial of the Franciscans, himself a Clare-man, as the site for the Monastery. On Tuesday, September 17th 1957, the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis, the Ceremony of the blessing and laying the Foundation Stone was performed by Bishop Rodgers with a great gathering of Friars, Clergy, Religious of the Diocese, Mr. Rupert Boyd-Barrett Architect, Mr. Ignatius Houlihan who had been appointed by Bishop Rodgers as advisor to Mother Agnes, Messrs. Doran, the Builders from Limerick, and many friends and supporters of the new Foundation.
In a little over a year, the Monastery was ready for occupation. Tuesday 7th October 1958, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was the day chosen for making the Foundation in Ennis. At 8.30, Bishop Cornelius Lucy, Bishop of Cork, celebrated Mass in the Monastery Chapel, which was filled to capacity with neighbours and friends gathered to bid farewell to the Sisters destined for Ennis: Mother Agnes Power, Sr. Anne Dolorosa Carroll, Sr. Angela Whelan and Sr. Bernadette Coughlan (Novice). In Limerick Friary, the Guardain, Fr, Andrew, OFM and the Friars warmly welcomed and entertained the Sisters after which they headed for Ennis. Arriving at the Mercy Convent, they were again given another warm welcome by Mother Lelia McKenna and the Sisters who had a lovely dinner ready for the sisters.
That evening in the Friary Church filled to capacity by the congregation and all the members of the Third Order of St. Francis, Bishop Rodgers imparted Solemn Benediction and expressed “his joy at the arrival of the Poor Clares in this Centenary Year of Our Lady’s Apparitions at Lourdes.” Once again he thanked all who had helped in any way in making this Foundation possible. Finally, at the intonation of the Te Deum the little group of Sisters walked down the isle, and accompanied by members their families, the Friars and a huge crowd of Ennis people, made their way along Francis Street to see the sisters safely into their new Monastery.