Bachelor of Theology award for Sr Nuala O’Reilly ocso

Congratulations to Sister Nuala of Glencairn who was awarded with a Bachelor of Theology degree from the University of Lampeter, Wales in November of this year.

Sister Nuala’s graduation ceremony took place in the Priory Institute, Tallaght, in Dublin on the 26th November, 2011 where she gave an address as representative of the student body (see below). Sister Nuala began her degree by long distance with the Priory Institute in 2004, studying part-time.

Her qualification will undoubtedly enrich us all in the community in many ways and as she continues her teaching at initial formation level in Glencairn with our novices and juniors.

Asked what her academic aspirations will be next, she says she intends to focus her studies now on the writings of the Cistercian fathers. We are delighted at Sister Nuala’s great achievement and wish her well with her further studies!

Photo: Sister Nuala O’Reilly ocso with Fr John Littleton, Director at the Priory Institute, Tallaght.
For more photos view our Events Gallery.

Sister Nuala’s graduation speech on 26th November, 2011 at the Priory Institute, representing the student body:

“Members of the Board of Directors, Members of the Academic Council, Members of Staff, Distinguished Guests, Families, Friends and Fellow Students you may be wondering why an enclosed Cistercian nun is standing up here representing the student body. I know, from my own experience, at study days, that some of the students I met along the Theological journey had the impression that because I was a Religious this study course was a cake walk. Well they were wrong because my educational background was as follows:

Primary School Report:
1. Poor reading – hid reading book behind the wardrobe at home so as not to attend school.

2. Several truancy episodes in first class but intelligent enough to go to dinner hall for lunch..

Secondary School Report:
1.Top stream: Mathematics
Bottom stream: All other academic subjects.

2. Shows no aptitude for English: 3 attempts at the equivalent of sitting the leaving cert exam before achieving success.

3. Final year: clever and successful at avoiding sitting prelim exams: wore a sling on writing arm for the duration.

4. Good at sport: especially netball.

As you can see my school efforts were not exactly advantageous for all the hazards ahead in our shared theological endeavour: a discipline of study, understanding theological concepts and strange terminology, developing stamina and perseverance in the many challenges along the journey and most of all in learning the practical skills for putting together a logical, coherent assignment with a brilliant conclusion that would certainly impress any marker. So, like you, receiving an academic award today is a great achievement.

The weeks, the months and the years have passed and, today we find ourselves at the conclusion of our common exploration and study of Theology with the Priory Institute and the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David. This is a day of rejoicing and celebration, for all the students here, who will be receiving academic awards (certificates, diplomas or degrees). Also this is a day of rejoicing and celebration for our families, friends and communities who have given us encouragement along the way, especially for those family members who supported us and shared in the enormous sacrifices made by us, in order to devote time and attention to our studies. FOR THIS WE THANK YOU.

This is a day for rejoicing and celebration for the Priory Institute and its staff. They have given us the opportunity to open our horizons in the study of theology. They have provided us with a wide range of solid, practical doctrine, a theological programme in continuity with the tradition which has been handed down first by the Apostles, and then defended and passed on by the early Christian writers: the Fathers of the Church.

The Priory Institute and its staff, have provided us with a rich and comprehensive study programme which not only treasured the essential elements of Christian belief but encompassed other contemporary Religions. Our own landscape was broadened and challenged by a deeper understanding and tolerance of these Religious beliefs. Surely, this will enable us to enter into inter-religious dialogue with confidence whilst remaining true to our own Catholic tradition. They have given us the tools to engage in various forms of pastoral ministry and to contribute to ongoing renewal in the Church. FOR THIS WE THANK YOU.

This is a day for rejoicing and celebration for all the Co-ordinators, and Dominican communities throughout Ireland. Their willingness to open their doors and invite us into their Priories, their hospitality and friendliness in allowing us to share a bit of their living space, both for spiritual nourishment: the study days, tutorial days and for physical sustenance: the nourishing soup and those delicious scones, has shown a true spirit of generosity, goodwill and support towards the students. FOR THIS WE THANK YOU.
In particular a special word of thanks to this community here in Tallaght who had the vision and the courage to launch out into a new venture of studying Theology: the Distance Learning mode. It has given all of us the opportunity to study our religious faith at a deeply academic level without having to attend full-time education. Bonds of togetherness and mutual support have been formed between community members and us, the students. FOR THIS WE THANK YOU.

This is a day for rejoicing and celebration for the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David for facilitating the partnership with the Priory Institute and accrediting the degrees, diplomas and certificates being presented to us today. They have fostered, accommodated, supported and guided the Priory Distance Learning Programme over the years, especially during its teething problems at the beginning of this great academic venture. We have to admit that the journey we have travelled was definitely not for the fainthearted student. After all, when we enrolled, we thought we were starting a Distance Education Programme only to discover instead what seemed more like a Distance Cross Country Programme: with its hurdles of no module texts to study; the high jumps of delayed assignment questions; and the perspiration and desperation of meeting deadlines. We must have all lost some weight in the process! But thank God the bond between the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David, The Priory Institute and the Students was not all in vain, for today, we have captured the prize: that coveted certificate, diploma or degree. FOR THIS WE THANK YOU.

Our time of study with the Priory Institute and the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David is at an end, and the moment has come for us to go forth from this place renewed with the fruits we have gathered: a deeper understanding of who God is and how He interacts with us. Yet, our knowledge brings responsibility not only to share the Good News of the Gospel and bring others to joy but to spread the good news about the work of the Priory Institute in providing theological education and formation through the distance learning mode – so that, like us, many more people will become more expert in understanding and explaining what is central to Christian faith and theological enquiry.

So now, I would like to invite all the members of the student body to stand and show your appreciation to all the aforementioned people to whom we all owe an enormous THANK YOU.”