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Stained glass window by George Walsh depicting the six
founding Brigidine Sisters with Bishop Delany in the garden at
their convent in Tullow The Brigidine Sisters (also known as the
Brigidine Order, or simply the Brigidines) are a global Roman
Catholic congregation, founded by Bishop Daniel Delany in Ireland
on February 1, 1807.
There were six founding members of the
religious institute, all of whom were originally catechists:
Eleanor Tallon, Margaret Kinsella, Eleanor Dawson, Judith Whelan,
Bridget Brien and Catherine Doyle.
congregation linked to Saint Brigid had been founded in the fifth
century AD, and had lasted until the Reformation; Bishop Delany
considered the establishment of this new congregation to be merely
a refounding of the original one. In order to demonstrate this
continuity, he brought an oak sapling with him from Kildare and
planted it in the grounds of the new convent in Tullow, Co.
In 1809, he sent three of the sisters from Tullow to
Mountrath in Co. Laois, where they founded a convent and school
which survives to this day. In 1842, another house was established
in Abbeyleix, also in Co. Laois. Then, in 1858 a layman in Goresbridge offered to help finance a foundation in his parish.
The Paulstown and Ballyroan foundations soon followed. In 1883, in
answer to a request from a bishop in New South Wales, six sisters
from Mountrath went to Australia. They founded their first
establishment in Coonamble, New South Wales. From there branches
quickly spread to the dioceses of Sydney, Bathurst, Canberra-Goulburn,
Perth and Brisbane as well as to the Archdiocese of Wellington,
New Zealand, in 1898.
The Sisters returned to the British Isles
and founded the first two convents in the UK: St Brigid's School
(1939) in Denbigh, Wales and Brigidine Convent (1948) in Windsor,
England. The archive of the Brigidine Sisters is stored in the The
Delany Archive in Carlow College.