Brigidine Sisters

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.


An earlier 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, County Carlow.

In 1809, he sent three of the sisters from Tullow to Mountrath in County 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, County Kilkenny 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.

Mission and Ethos

The Brigidine motto is Fortiter et Suaviter, which is Latin for "Strength and Gentleness". Its mission is the education and evangelisation of youth.



New South Wales
South Australia
Western Australia

New Zealand

United Kingdom

External links

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