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This youthful image of Nano suggests both patience and endurance and includes the image of the Sacred Heart, Nano’s central devotion. At her feet is a group of children, with buildings symbolizing the city of Cork on either side. These were the center of Nano’s apostolate toward children, many of them abused and exploited.

The side panels elaborate some of the events and symbols of Nano Nagle’s life:

  • Spiral motifs, the Celtic symbol of eternity and of God, the Father
  • The tabernacle, recalling Nano Nagle’s extraordinary devotion to the Eucharist
  • A tiny window illuminating a cramped room, suggesting the poverty-stricken conditions of the cabin schools
  • Nano holding a book, a symbol of literacy and learning
  • The four founding sisters, standing near a well of living water
  • The gallows, a reminder of the conditions in which Irish-Catholics lived under the Penal laws, which sought to destroy their identity
  • Nano Nagle caring for the sick... she personally knew every garret and tenement in the city
  • Nano Nagle with her lantern, a symbol of her joyful spirit and of her devotion to the poor, to whom she brought God’s love.

The original life-sized icon, created by artist, Desmond Kyne, is located at the Nano Nagle Center, Ballygriffin, County Cork, Ireland.

This booklet was developed by the Friends of the Presentation Sisters 2012

Nano Nagle

The Lady of the Lantern
Foundress of the Presentation Sisters
Sisters of the Preservation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (PBVM)

The Lady of the Lantern let her light shine. Likewise, her daughters – the Presentation Sisters – follow the light of Christ and help others learn to let their light shine. Presentation Sisters are women of light, of passion and imagination, working to empower the poor. The Sisters carry into the modern world the concerns and ministries of their foundress. In all of their ministries, Presentation Sisters share a common spirit, mission, commitment to the poor, and dedication to building a just world for all.

“Doing Justice in the Way of Jesus is our Mission”


The Presentation sisters in Long Beach, MS, are members of the Union of Sisters of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.




Friends of NanoWho are the Presentation Sisters?
Distressed by the ignorance of the Irish in both faith and academics due to the Penal Laws imposed upon Catholics, and without regard for her own safety, Nano Nagle opened her first school in 1754. She educated the children during the day and visited and nursed the sick by night, becoming known in Cork as the Lady with the Lantern, the symbol of the Sisters of the Presentation worldwide. To ensure continuation of her work, Nano founded the Sisters of the Presentation on December 24, 1775. The growth of the Congregation has often been described as similar to the growth of an acorn as it develops into an oak tree. There is a cycle of birth, growth, decline and death, followed by rebirth.

Presentation Sisters came to North America throughout the 19th Century to work with the immigrant populations. Eight separate congregations of Presentation Sisters were founded and continue to serve the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the young. The congregations are associated through the Conference of Presentation Sisters of North America.

With over 2,600 Sisters world-wide, Presentation Sisters can be found in 19 countries. They have become truly a world-wide Congregation and in the spirit of their foundress, are responding to her words: "If I could be of any service in saving souls in any part of the globe, I would willingly do all in my power."

The Presentation Sisters in Long Beach are members of the Union of Sisters of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In addition to working in the local communities and parishes, they support the following ministries:
Rebuild Center The Collaborative Ministry Project operates in partnership with The Vincentian Community and the Jesuits to form the Center, which opened August 26, 2007. Nano Nagle's words “spend yourselves for the poor” are lived out each day in many forms of ministry there. At the Center, Presentation Sisters operate a food pantry and free lunch program as well as providing facilities for showers, housing assistance, birth certificate and ID assistance and medical care to people in need.
Presentation Sisters Center, Shaw, Mississippi The Presentation sisters at Shaw hold After- School Tutoring Classes (K-3) four days a week and hold weekly art classes. They also join with The “Active Ladies of Shaw” to pray, share their blessings of the week, engage in various activities and community projects and socialize, followed with a snack or light lunch. In addition, they offer Adult Literacy in the evenings every week.


Nano Nagle Prayer

Lord God,
You raise up people from age to age
to speak anew Your Word to us and to show us your ways. 
Such is Nano Nagle.

In days when courage is needed,
You give us this woman of strength
to walk before us with conviction.

In days of great change,
You present us with a prophet whose faith is firm.
As the light of her lantern brought hope
into the lives made wretched by poverty and

So may she inspire us to compassionate action for those in need around us


Friends of Nano



Friends of Nano are people who are inspired by Nano’s story and who are drawn in their own lives to work towards creating a more compassionate, just and sustainable world. They are men and women who have walked the journey with us and who have actively participated in living the mission of Nano; such as co-workers in our places of ministry, associates, participants in our initiatives and others who are inspired by Nano’s story and the ongoing work of the Congregation.  Contact us at