Hearts and Minds

Sacred Heart Education has been a feature of Roscrea life since 1842. Roscrea was the first site of Sacred Heart education in this country. Today, even though there are many schools which have Sacred Heart as their name, the Primary School in Roscrea is different insofar as it is part of the international network of the Society of the Sacred Heart. The schools in this network are joined with a common ethos whose history and future are inextricably linked to Roscrea.
Hearts + Minds is a permanent archival exhibition of Sacred Heart Education in Ireland. Launched in 2014 at Mount Anville Convent, Dublin it draws on archives from the Foundation of the Sacred Heart in Ireland and from its archives in Rome.  Central to the exhibition is The Carroll Room, a room specifically dedicated to the Carroll sisters from Roscrea who joined the Order at the Sacred Heart Convent in Roscrea. In so doing they became sisters in both the family and religious sense.
Mary Anne and Catherine Carroll were daughters of Daniel Carroll and Kate Moyler from Coolshall, Roscrea. Catherine joined the Order first in 1884 and Mary Anne followed in 1888. In 1891 Catherine transferred to Brighton where, sadly she died two years later, aged twenty eight.
Mary Anne made her final profession in 1901 and in January 1907 transferred to Mount Anville, Dublin where she lived for over forty four years, becoming its longest ever resident. During that time she visited Roscrea once a year remaining close to her family, her brother James and his wife Mary. Sr Mary Anne Carroll died peacefully on July 31 st 1951 and is buried in Mount Anville Convent cemetery with her sister Catherine.
The Carroll Room is a permanent dedication to the lives of these women and the work they did contributing to the education of young women in Roscrea, Dublin and Brighton.
Another prominent feature among the many beautiful portraits of Roscrea people is a portrait of Mary Philomena O’Connor, who died in 2009. Sister Mary Philomena was educated by the Sacred Heart Sisters in Roscrea and joined the order there. She worked in Spain, Dublin and Roscrea as a teacher, bursar and novitiate support.
Mother Catherine Stuart is also remembered. Her father guarded Napoleon on his exile in St. Helena, when he retired he settled in Roscrea where his daughter Catherine was educated by and later joined the Sacred Heart Order.
An International Conference was held to launch the Hearts + Minds Archive. A delegation from the Sacred Heart Primary School attended and two pupils from the school, Niamh Geraghty and Claire Carey addressed the gathering of educators. They spoke confidently outlining how the legacy of Sacred Heart Education is being continued with pride in Roscrea.
The Roscrea speakers informed the conference on up to date practice on networking between the schools internationally, e-twinning, awards for European citizenship in the form of a Blue Flag and awards for environmental awareness in the form of four Green Flags.  As well as these they spoke of artistic endeavours, sporting achievements and a thriving whole school community which values the involvement of parents in their children’s education.
Our thanks to Kyle Shanahan for his research on the Carroll family for this article.

Sister Mary Philomena