Sisters of Mercy
The Past 1000 Years
(Extract from Convent of Mercy NS Centenary Book)
On the 23rd of August 1868 seven Sisters of Mercy founded a community in a thatched house in Deanery street, Belturbet. As their numbers increased, in 1876 they moved to a larger house in Straheglin Street (now known as Bridge Street) and in 1878 they started a small school which they registered with the National Board of Education.
In 1898 the Sisters moved house again and in 1909 the present school was completed in the Convent grounds. A grant of £840 had been provided by the Commissioners of National Education towards ‘the building, enclosing and furnishing of a schoolhouse and play shed’. After much representation a further grant of £40 was made to equip a Cookery Room. In 1910 the balance of £300 due for the building was raised through the proceeds from a Bazzar. The school accommodated 160 pupils, Sr. Joseph Mary Berry being the first principal.
The Sisters having a broad view of education offered extra tuition in the Convent parlour after school. This included languages, music and art. These lessons were paid for at quarterly intervals but no child was deprived of them due to an inability to pay.
Sr.Margaret O’Donovan was the last Sister of Mercy to serve as principal in the school and retired in 1997. Sr. Rita Duignan, the only remaining Sister on the staff resigned in 2003 to take up another ministry.
In the past hundred years, thousands of children and scores of teachers have been part of the history of the school and will have seen many changes.
It is hoped that the children and teachers presently in the Convent National School will be richly blessed by good work and prevailing Mercy ethos which is being kept alive through the commitment and dedication of all the school staff.
Sr. Eleanor Murphy
Mercy Trustees Northern Province, Clogher