Nano (Honoria) Nagle was born in Ballygriffin, Country Cork, Ireland in 1718. This was the period in Irish history when the English had imposed the oppressive Penal Laws, which severely limited the Irish people. The Irish were denied access economically, politically, socially and educationally to the rights and means that would have raised them from the poverty and oppression. It was a crime of treason (punishable by death) to educate the Irish and it was forbidden to practice the Roman Catholic faith. Because of her family’s position and wealth, Nano was sent to be educated in the Irish community then living in Paris. Returning to Ireland other events lead to Nano to consider a way that she could help the poor she saw everyday in Cork and on the family estate. Distressed by the ignorance of the Irish in both faith and enrolment of thirty-five girls in a two-room cabin. This began her great work of education and as some historians have noted, her important work in saving the Irish culture. She was the founder of the Presentation Sisters and pioneer of Catholic education in Ireland.
Without regard for her own safety, she selflessly educated children during the day and visited and nursed the sick by night. As a result, she became known in Cork as the Lady with Lantern, the symbol of the Sisters of Presentation worldwide.