On Saturday 14th April, 2012, the Poor Clare Sisters of Graiguecullen were honoured with a very special civic reception, hosted by the members of Carlow Town Council to mark the 800th anniversary of the founding of the order.

Mass was celebrated at St Clare’s Church in Graiguecullen, which attracted a huge crowd, who came to recognise the special place the Poor Clares have held in the community for the past 119 years.

The order was founded in Assisi, Italy and currently numbers more than 20,000 sisters throughout the world. They came to Graiguecullen in 1893, when Mother Seraphine and Mother Angela Tait were warmly welcomed by the then parish priest of Graiguecullen, Fr Dan Byrne. They began their time here in a building on the bridge, before moving to their current location in July 1900.

Today, the community has ten members in Graiguecullen, headed by mother abbess Rosario Byrne.

A scroll was presented to the members of the order and 91-year-old Sr Anna Marie O’Neill was on hand to cut the anniversary cake at the end of the celebrations. On 30 June, Cardinal Seán Brady will be in Graiguecullen to celebrate Mass with the sisters in what is a momentous year for them.