St. Mary's Abbey, Glencairn

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Saint Mary's Abbey, Glencairn is a monastic community of nuns located in Glencairn, County Waterford, in Ireland. The community belongs to the Trappist branch of the Cistercian order, thus the nuns are also referred to as Trappistines. The original community of this monastic tradition had been welcomed to Ireland by St. Malachy in 1142. The monastery was founded in 1932 by nuns of Holy Cross Abbey —located at that time in Stapehill, England—which itself had been founded in 1802 by a small group of refugee nuns from France, led by a nun who had been imprisoned in the Bastille during the French Revolution, and narrowly escaped being sent to the guillotine.[1]

This community was the first house of Cistercian nuns to be founded in Ireland since the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII (1536–41). To date it remains the only Cistercian community of nuns in Ireland. It went on to found Mount Saint Mary's Abbey in Wrentham, Massachusetts, in 1949, the first community of Cistercian nuns in the United States. St Mary's Abbey, Glencairn also founded St Justina's monastery, in Abakaliki, Nigeria in 1982.[2]

The community consists of 29 nuns, who support themselves in standard Cistercian practice through the farming of their 200-acre farm, the baking of altar breads and providing greeting and spiritual cards for all occasions, both printed and handcrafted.[3]


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