Newry’s greatest historical icon has been confirmed with the Russell sisters taking the top honours at the Town Hall last Friday night. After listening to local historians give presentations on a number of well known names the electorate of 400 had its say with 17.5 per cent of those present backing the three sisters. This meant that the Russells had defeated Fionn Mac Gorman, Richard Castles, Francis Carvill, John Mitchel/ John Martin, John Grub Richardson and Sean Hollywood to the title. The Russells were three sisters from Killowen who entered the Sisters of Mercy in the 1850’s. Each of them rose to the highest positions in the order and founded between them many primary schools in the Newry area as well as homes for the destitute. The youngest Mother Baptist at the age of 25 was sent out to Gold Rush California in 1854 as the superior of five other nuns. Over the following 43 years she established schools, hospitals and refuges for women all over Northern California. A modern day icon of education Sister Perpetua McArdle delivered the winning line among all seven presentations when she asked, “Can anyone name any other Newry person who has a statue outside any State Capitol in the entire world?” Mother Baptist has a place of honour in bronze at the entrance to the State Capitol in Sacramento. The event also saw £4500 raised for CONCERN Worldwide to assist the plight of Syrian refugees.
5th March 2014