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Friday, 10 September 2021

The Story of Nano Nagle A Life Lived on the Razor's Edge - Anne Lyons PBVM

The Story of Nano Nagle
A Life Lived on the Razor's Edge
Anne Lyons PBVM
ISBN 9781788123228
eISBN 9781788123259
eISBN 9781788123242
ASIN B098141Z3Z


This is the third book published by Messenger Publications that I have read in as the last 2 weeks. The first I read was, Saint Ignatius of Loyola: A Convert's Story
by Patrick Corkery SJ, and this was one of 4 I picked up while writing and researching for the review of that one. I do not recall ever hearing the name Nano Nagle, but the statue on the cover of the book captured my attention. It was definitely a case of judging a book by it’s cover. Or at least reading the description because the cover caught my eye. I am very thankful that I did pick it up

The description of this booklet is:

“As Nano's journey unfolds it reveals how the steady and alluring presence of God became known to her through the most ordinary of events of her life. Her response was one of wholehearted surrender to the call of the gospel and to walking the path of radical discipleship. Abandoning a life of privilege, position and wealth, she moved to align herself to live and work in her beloved city of Cork, in solidarity with those made destitute. Driven by a burning passion to help Christ's marginalized, she dared not only to dream a better life for them but to make this impossible dream a lived reality. This was the great miracle of her life. At a time when the role of women in shaping society was severely restricted, she lived on the razor's edge, a woman fearless before a tyrannical world.”
 
The cover is a photograph of Nano Nagle statue at Ballygriffin by Liam O’Connell SJ. The chapters in the booklet are:

Timeline of the Life of Nano Nagle
Preface
A Woman Ablaze with God
Nano’s Formative Years
Nano’s Conversion
Nano’s First Schools
The Foundation of the Presentation Sisters
Ongoing Challenges and Final Years
Nano’s Spirituality
Nano’s Prophetic Voice
Nano’s Legacy
Further Reading
Prayer for the Beatification of Venerable Nano Nagle

This biography is an absolutely fascinating read. This book draws heavily from other biographies and resources. The book is a brief introduction to Nano, her life, her ministry and her legacy. There is an excellent section at the end for further reading, and links to several websites for the Presentation Sisters. Each chapter ends with a ‘Points for Pondering’ section, followed by a question in bold. A samples from the last three chapters are:

“FOR PONDERING
Nano Nagle was an authentic woman, who lived the mysticism of service. ‘Her feet bore the sores of a pilgrim on a journey with a cold shivering humanity and that is where she walked into Christ, and together, step by struggling footstep they forged a new path into new life.’

How would it be if God were to preside at the counsels of your heart?

“FOR PONDERING
Nano Nagle was an authentic woman, who lived the mysticism of service. ‘Her feet bore the sores of a pilgrim on a journey with a cold shivering humanity and that is where she walked into Christ, and together, step by struggling footstep they forged a new path into new life.’

How would it be if God were to preside at the counsels of your heart?

“FOR PONDERING
Nano Nagle was an authentic woman, who lived the mysticism of service. ‘Her feet bore the sores of a pilgrim on a journey with a cold shivering humanity and that is where she walked into Christ, and together, step by struggling footstep they forged a new path into new life.’

How would it be if God were to preside at the counsels of your heart?

A few of the sections in the book that really spoke to me about Nano were:

“When she commenced her life’s work in 1754 for the poor of Cork, Nano adopted a humble, quiet, sometimes hidden manner. Aware of the political reality of the times she did what she could to avoid drawing the unwelcome attention of the authorities. Like the seed Jesus spoke about in the gospel, her work grew unobtrusively but steadily and continues to this day to yield a rich harvest throughout the world.”

“You were not normal, Nano. 
You were possessed and driven by God, calling you into a Great Love-Conspiracy to make a difference in a hurting world, leaving all of us timid and doubting souls with a legacy of miracles born and forged from your courage, determination and deep, hidden suffering.”

“Nano showed no signs of shrinking from the new challenges. Zeal and trust in Divine Providence were virtues embodied in her, and also required of those who would be her companions. She wrote, ‘I can’t too much admire your zeal and great trust in Divine Providence which I always looked on as the most settled beginning any foundation of this kind could have’. As she moved into the final years of her life, she would rely heavily on both.”

“Nano’s conversion revealed both her deep social awareness and her social conscience. Seized by the light of God’s truth, she could no longer conform to expected norms. She became a prophetic voice for her times.”

And her voice is one we need to be reminded of today. Care for the poor. Focus on education. Selfless service. Quiet servitude. These are the examples Nano leaves to us. She gave up much, and lived to serve. 

This is another great read from the Messenger Booklet series. I was blessed to have read this and I am certain you will be as well. If you have heard of Nano or not I encourage you to give this little volume a read. I am certain it will bless, challenge and encourage you in your faith and how you live it out.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan









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