Govt snubs women religious on St Brigid’s day

The Government has been accused of erasing the contribution of women religious from its official programme for St Brigid’s day, with just one event in Irish embassies across the world acknowledging their work.

The State has “very short memories”, according to Sr Sheila Kelleher PBVM. Only for the work of women religious, “there’d be no foundation for Catholic education, no foundation for the State at all”, she said, “but that’s not acknowledged”.

Sr Kathleen McGarvey OLA called the omission a “blindness, whether its conscious or unconscious”.

Founder of the Children’s Grief Centre, Sr Helen Culhane of the Sisters of Mercy, said “It’s very disappointing” the work of women religious was overlooked, asking: “By not doing it they obviously have an issue, so what is their issue?”

She also asked why many women religious won’t raise their voice and stand up for themselves, saying: “Where is the voice of women religious? They don’t want to be quoted. I’ve been interviewed by journalists for the last 17 years, I’ve never had a backlash from anything I’ve said. What witness are we giving as religious? It raises the bigger question, what are they afraid of?”