A few weeks ago I visited the Loreto Convent in Bray, Co Wicklow - it is about to close and I wanted to see the grave of my Grand Aunt Sr Brigid Hurley (known to the family as Mother Brigid). We used to visit her in Bray on many occasions, and I have fond memories of tea and cakes in the Visitor's Parlour.
Hannah Mary Hurley was born in Newmarket, Co Cork on 26th August, 1898. She was the third oldest in a family of six. She entered the novitiate at Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham on 1st September 1920, and was professed there on 28th May 1929. She was known in religion as Sr. Brigid. She obtained a B.A. from UCD in 1926, a Higher Diploma in Education from UCD in 1927, and in 1924 had passed the Cours Moyen, Certificat from the Alliance Franciase, Paris. Throughout her religious life, Sr. Brigid ministered as a teacher (teaching Religious Education, Irish, French and English), held various administrative offices including Superior, Assistant Superior, Consultress (advisor to Superior), Procurator (house bursar) Mistress of House, and Infirmarian.
The Hurley family
Back row from left: Rosa (Keane) Hurley, Tim Hurley, Eileen Hurley.
Sr. Brigid was resident in and ministered in the following communities*:
1924 – 1926 Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham (University student)
1926 – 1927 Loreto College, 53 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
1927 – 1928 Loreto College, 43 North Great George’s Street, Dublin
1929 – 1932 Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham
1932 – 1938 Loreto Convent Kilkenny (1937 – 1938, Assistant Superior, 1st Consultor, Procurator)
1938 – 1944 Loreto Convent Cavan (Local Superior)
1944 – 1946 Loreto College, 43 North Great George’s Street, Dublin
1946 – 1948 Loreto Convent Letterkenny (Assistant Superior, 1st Consultor, Procurator)
1948 – 1949 Loreto Convent, Gorey
1949 – 1955 Loreto College, 43 North Great George’s Street, Dublin (Local Superior)
1955 – 1962 Loreto Convent, Wexford (2nd Consultor)
1962 – 1981 Loreto Convent Bray (Procurator & Retired)
According to the Loreto Archives, "Mobility for mission was, and is, a key feature of the lives of IBVM Sisters. Transfer between communities and ministries usually occurred each August, in time for the start of the next academic year.". Sr Brigid certainly got around!
Mother Brigid died on 21st February, 1981. This was a sad time for the family as less than a month earlier her beloved sister Eileen had also died. She is buried in a small cemetery along with over 100 other Sisters overlooking Bray. The Convent and adjoining lands are to be sold by the Loreto Order - most probably the land and house will be developed for housing and apartments. Hopefully the cemetery will not be moved. I don't recall attending Mother Brigid's funeral - I was in Trinity at the time and should have been able to attend.
*Information provided by the IBVM (Loreto), Institute & Irish Province Archives, 55 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2