A short history of the Sisters of St Clare Mayobridge
St. Clare’s Convent was founded in 1924 due to the inspirational benevolence of Elizabeth Barry. She donated her house and property to Most Reverend Dr Mulhern, Bishop of Dromore, with the express wish that a convent be established there. Her generosity has had a profoundly beneficial effect upon the spiritual and educational welfare of all the people in the district.
The decision to found the Convent in Mayobridge was taken on the 3rd October 1922 and the building of the new convent proceeded very shortly after that. The foundation stone was laid and blessed on the 3rd May 1923 by Most Reverend Dr Mulhern.
By January 1924, the following Sisters were chosen for the foundation: Mother Mary Anthony Clune, Mother-in-Charge, Mothers Mary Josephine O’Hare, Mary Dominic Ryan, Mary Elizabeth Carr and Mary Gabriel Breen. They were installed on the 25th February 1924. The rules of the Order were relaxed allowing the Sisters to attend Mass publicly and to teach. They were also allocated duties as sacristan to the Church; Mother Mary Josephine and Mother Mary Bonaventure were appointed assistant teachers in the boys’ school.
Due to legal technicalities, building work on a proposed new school was delayed and, with the existing school being considered unsafe, a temporary classroom, later called the Sodality Room, was built. It, along with two rooms in the Convent, was used to accommodate the pupils pending the completion of the new school.
The new schools were opened on the 20th May 1927. Mother Mary Evangelista was appointed assistant teacher on the 1st February 1926 to replace Mother Mary Bonaventure, who was transferred to Newry as Novice Mistress.
This Sisters of St Clare have a long history within the parish. They have been working actively for 87 years and even though they sadly have moved physically into Newry, they are still the heart of the parish. They work in various ministries within the parish and are instrumental in co-ordinating many of the initiatives currently ongoing in the vibrant parish. The Sisters offer spiritual direction and counselling on request.
Words cannot express the debt of gratitude owed, by the people of Mayobridge, to this Community of Sisters of St Clare, and although they now reside in Newry since 12th February 2010, they are still very much part of Mayobridge.
The Sisters can be contacted at Sisters of St Clare, ‘La Verna’, 12 Ashgrove Avenue, Newry BT34 1PR Telephone: 028 3025 3886