The oak leaf represents our rich Irish heritage joined together with the gum leaf from our Australian tradition.
The oak became significant when Bishop Daniel Delany, founder of the Brigidine Sisters, planted an oak sapling from Kildare (‘Cill Dara’ Church of the Oak) in the grounds of what is now the Brigidine Convent in Tullow. He did this to make the link between Brigid’s monastic foundation at Kildare and the newly re-founded Order of St. Brigid (Brigidine Sisters) on 1st February 1807. Kildare Ministries adopted the gum leaves, indigenous to Australia, to mark the beginnings of our new story.
Brigid’s Cross is a homage to Clonard’s founding sisters, The Brigidines inspired by Saint Brigid of Kildare.
Clonard’s founders, the Brigidine Sisters embody Brigid’s Cross as their emblem. Woven by her from the green rushes that formed the ‘carpet’ on the floor of a chieftain’s house as he lay dying, she explained the life and death of Jesus. When he listened to her story, he asked to be baptised before he died. The tradition of weaving the Brigid’s cross is carried on throughout Ireland and in other parts of the world.
The lamp of learning combines fire a central image in the Brigidine tradition with a lantern that is iconic with the revolutionary work of Nano Nagle.
When St. Brigid built her monastery and church in Kildare she continued the custom of keeping the fire alight. The fire represented the new light of Christianity along with warmth and hospitality. Nano Nagle, in the 1700s gave her life to educate the poorest Catholic children who were living under the penal laws of the times. Through dark city lanes Nano travelled by the light of the lantern she carried, and across the city of Cork she became known as ‘Miss. Nagle, ‘the Lady of the Lantern’ as she visited the sick and destitute.