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Happy Birthday Ursuline Community

September 27th. 2012 marks the 225th birthday of the foundation of the Ursuline Community, here in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

On this date 225 years ago, on September 27th, 1787 Anastasia Tobin was professed as Sr. Clare Ursula in the Ursuline Convent, in Co Cork, before coming back to her native town of Thurles.

She took up residence in a little run down thatched cottage on the site of the present convent structure, next door to the thatched Matthew Chapel, latter which is now the present site of the beautiful building we know as Thurles Cathedral.

Following her profession in Cork, for the next nine years she remained alone teaching from this cottage, receiving some assistance from another lay person, her sister Mary. However in 1796 two young women namely Mary and Joanna Luby, natives of Clerihan, latter who had also undertaken training in the Ursuline Convent Cork, came up to join her.

Remember the Penal Laws were in vogue during much this period and an official licence to teach was therefore required and eventually sanctioned around 1799 by the Protestant Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Very Reverend Patrick Hare. Once granted, the first legitimate Catholic School in the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly was born and today is listed as one of the best centres of education in Ireland.

I will be talking later, this coming week, about the wonderful legacy of work through education, begun and carried on, through almost 5 generations to date, by this magnificent religious order of nuns.

So until then, suffice is to say on behalf of the town of Thurles & indeed almost every county in Ireland, we would like to offer to you firstly, our gratitude and secondly, to wish you, Thurles Ursuline Community, a Very, Very, Very Happy Birthday.

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