The Ursulines (Ursulines of the Roman Union) were and remain a Roman Catholic religious institute for women founded at Brescia, Italy, by Saint Angela de Merici in November 1535. Their aim was primarily dedicated to the education of girls, while also caring for the sick and needy and bringing about a Christianising influence in existing homes and in the homes which those they came into contact with, would subsequently establish.

From Italy through Europe, this religious order began to expand, eventually spreading to Canada by 1639 and to the New Orleans French Quarter by 1727. (latter quarter founded on May 7th, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company.) Here they became affectionately known as the "Filles du' Casket," (Tranlation: "Casket Girls") because of the wooden cases which they hauled enthusiastically around, containing their meagre possessions, while in transit from Rouen in northern France to this new colony in the Americas.

Faith and education have been the very cornerstones of Ursuline philosophy since their humble beginning and those two pillar virtues are as evident today, as they first were when the Order was first established here in Thurles. Former students from the Ursulines in Thurles, today, populate the globe and their achievements in life as academics, as business people, as sporting icons, as musicians and performers, as parents, as wives, as partners and as Sisters, are as many as to quote 1 Kings 4:20 from the Bible; "as numerous as the sand on the seashore." Read more at thurles.info/2014/04/06/the-casket-girls-celebrate-227-years-in-thurles/

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