Centenary of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary – 7th March 2024.

We give thanks today as we celebrate the Centenary of Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (MSHR’s).  The pioneering members of the MSHR’s were among the first women missionary congregations from Ireland.  They were women of faith who were resilient in their adaption, of the spiritual formation they received in Killeshandra, to the pastoral needs of their first mission in Onitsha, Southern Nigeria. 

The valiant efforts of Bishop Joseph Shanahan to establish a congregation of women missionaries to respond to the needs of girls and women in Southern Nigeria were rewarded with perseverance among the Sisters.  The growth of the congregation necessitating a successful fundraising campaign which established ‘The Killeshandra Sisters’ as a household name throughout Ireland. 

The MSHR’s expanded their mission to include the educational and catechetical as well as medical and maternity care.   At home, they managed and taught in Killeshandra National School, became involved in parish pastoral ministry thus establishing themselves as integral to the local community.  Abroad, their missionary endeavours continued to expand, and they eventually spread their wings outside Southern Nigeria into the wider African Mission and beyond. 

On this day, 100 years ago, Bishop Joseph Shanahan addressing the first seven Postulants in Killeshandra stated, “There are before you, as before all missionaries, suffering and trials.  But remember….you are beginning a new Sisterhood in Christ.”[1]

Our prayer is that the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary may continue to grow and flourish throughout the world as they embark on a new centenary.


+ Martin Hayes

Bishop of Kilmore.



Please note:

Centenary Celebrations include,

Mass in St Brigid’s Church, Killeshandra on 10th March 2024 @ 3.00pm

Centenary Celebration Mass in the Cathedral of the St. Patrick & St Felim on 3rd August 2024 @ 11am

[1] Launch out into the deep (Lk 5:4), The challenges of the Foundation Decade 1924 1934, Catherine M Hally MSHR, Messenger Publications(2021), p.26