Hi Sheila and Meredith,
In reviewing prior research, especially research that had been completed years ago, I always find new clues that I missed the first time around. At the start of the search for the missing Thomas McNamara of Glandree, I didn't appreciate the importance of social class in Ireland as reflected in an individual's occupation in Ireland: farmer vs. laborer vs. tradesmen (blacksmith, carpenter etc.). In America, I reckon, occupations are a bit more fluid compared to Ireland. So after reading through this thread in its entirety, I may have, and not for the first time, come to an incorrect conclusion due to not understanding the significant differences between the two countries.
Sheila, thank you for the excellent summary that you provided Meredith, well done.
Meredith, thank you for sharing the obituary for Sister Mary Ita McNamara. I had previously commented on this thread, that it was peculiar that there were no McNamara priests discovered during the long search. A James McNamara of Magherabaun married Margaret Bowles and lived at Glandree House #5. The Bowles family was certainly a priestly family since Margaret Bowles (≈1850 - 1937) was a niece of the Reverend James Bowles (1811-1881), who was a nephew of the Reverend Ambrose Bowles (drowned at Lahinch in 1846), who was a nephew of the Reverend Ambrose O'Connor (≈1769 - 1849). But Sister Mary Ita McNamara was the very first McNamara from Glandree that has been found to have joined a religious order. One small correction, your initial posting stated that Sister Mary was buried in Glandree, which I believe would be unusual for a nun to be buried at the family cemetery. The obituary that you attached states that Sister Mary Ita was indeed buried at the convent cemetery at St. Mary's Convent in Limerick.
Sheila, good job finding that Sister Mary Ita McNamara was Margaret McNamara, the daughter of John McNamara and Honorah Corry of Glandree House #28 in the 1911 census (family tree on page 13). I had searched unsuccessfully for the death record as assumed that her September 1933 death would be recorded in 1933, and not 1934. Like you, at first, I thought that Sister Mary Ita was most likely to have been Mary McNamara, the younger sister of Margaret, but then remembered that for many religious orders that all the nuns were named "Sister Mary" followed by another saint's name. I counted four likely candidates living in Glandree in 1911: the two sisters Mary and Margaret of House #28; along with Kate McNamara, the daughter of Michael McNamara and Mary Nash of House #41; and Delia McNamara, the daughter of Patrick McNamara and Ellen McMahon of House #15 in 1911.
Of these four candidates, I thought that one of the daughters of John McNamara and Honorah Corry was the most likely. Sheila, you noted that their grandfather Michael McNamara in Griffiths Valuation had Plot #60 consisting of 60 acres with a total annual valuation of £22. Michael McNamara appears to have been one of the most prosperous farmers in Glandree. And thus, I reckon, most likely to have a granddaughter to become a nun. This is the direct opposite of what might be a common belief in America that the Irish nuns as well as Irish priests joined out of poverty. I recall when doing a family history project being told that so many Irish men joined the priesthood in order to escape dire poverty and even starvation during the Irish famine. I've read on-line only recently that the Irish nuns who came to America were not only poor but poorly educated. None of these were authoritative sources, of course. The priests that we have come across while searching for the missing Thomas McNamara, appear to have been quite wealthy from the probate records. And from the various funeral reports in newspapers, the priests hobnobbed with the landlords and wealthy classes. I would say that the number of young Irish men of a poor laborer or poor farming class who joined the priesthood to escape the Great Famine was precisely zero. The best indicator of whether someone would join the priesthood in Ireland in the 19th century appears to have been whether or not they had an uncle or great uncle who was a priest.
Sheila, I know you are in the midst of researching the Irish women who joined religious orders and specifically the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Kansas:
http://www.ourlibrary.ca/phpbb2/viewtop ... 59fa9f9362
In 1895, Sister Mary Anacleta returned to Kansas from her Irish recruiting drive with 44 candidates for the novitiate. If we could determine the background of these 44 candidates this would make a good sample size, I reckon, and hopefully put to rest any myth that the Irish nuns who came to America were from the poorer classes, and certainly not poorly educated.
Sister Mary Ita McNamara was the granddaughter of Michael McNamara and Margaret Halpin. I reckon it was the Halpin family connection that would have encouraged Margaret McNamara to join the Sisters of Mercy. Although not like totally for sure, I reckon that her grandmother Margaret Halpin was a relative, likely a cousin, of the Reverend James Halpin of Scariff Parish. The parish priest James Halpin was age 51 in House 118 on Scariff Street in the 1901 census; and age 60 in House 14 in Ballyminogue, Scariff in the 1911 census. In both census years, Father Halpin reported his birthplace, not just as in County Clare, but as "Tulla".
http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/p ... t/1086104/
http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/p ... ue/369604/
James Halpin, 76 years, "Canon R.C. Church", died on 10 February 1925 at Tulla; informant John O'Donohue, C.C., present at death at Tulla [Scariff registration district]. So based upon his age reported on the census reports and death record, James Halpin was born sometime around 1847 to 1850. I could not locate his baptism record in the baptism register for Tulla Parish.
This might be the Reverend James Halpin's first promotion in 1872; he appears low on the totem pole of promotions, which would be expected for a young priest born about 1849:
DIOCESE OF KILLALOE — The following promotions have been just made in the diocese of Killaloe by the Most Rev Dr Ryan, Lord Bishop of the diocese. The Rev P White, to the curacy of Ennis; Rev E Moloney, to the curacy of New-Market-on-Fergus; Rev P Brennan, to the curacy of Mountshannon; Rev J M'Cormack, the curacy of Templederry; Rev M M'Grath, to the curacy of Clonlara; Rev J Walker and Rev M Lenihan, to the curacy of Montsea; Rev J M'Kenna, to the curacy of Shinrone; Rev J M'Grath, to the chaplaincy of Sacre Coeur, Convent, Roscrea; Rev J Furniss, to the curacy of Bonveen; Rev J O'Marlbey, to the curacy of Broadford, and the Rev J Halpin to the curacy of Upper Feacle.
The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 4 August 1872
At some point, the Rev. James Halpin was transferred to Newmarket-on-Fergus. And in 1884 he was transferred to Roscrea, County Tipperary:
The Bishop of Killaloe has made the following changes in his diocese:—Rev. Charles Stuart, C.C., Roscrea, to be C.C., of Birr, King's County (1); Rev. James Halpin, C.C., Newmarket-on-Fergus, to be C.C. Roscrea; Rev. James Loughnane, C.C., Clare Castle, to be C.C., Newmarket-on-Fergus (2).
Catholic Union and Times, Buffalo, New York, 3 July 1884
(1) This was the Rev. Charles Stuart who was ordained in 1870, the son of Dominic Stuart and Anne Scanlon, of Ballybrohan at Ogonnelloe Parish baptized on 11 February 1844. He was transferred from Milton Malbay to Roscrea in 1882 (see page 23).
(2) The Reverend James Loughnane administered the last rights for John Doloughty near Knockaneane School, and testified at the murder trial of Francis Hynes in 1882 (see page 22).
In Roscrea, the Reverend James Halpin was known as a "patriotic priest" and very politically active:
At a meeting of the Roscrea branch of the I N L [Irish National League] held on Sunday—Rev J Halpin, C C, in the chair—the following resolution was unanimously adopted—
That we sympathize with Rev Father Fahy in his suffering in the cause of the people; that we believe the country is prepared to follow the example of Woodford and its faithful priesthood, and that if the Government are determined to back Irish landlordism in the extermination of the Irish people during this winter we warn them that the struggle will be against the united priests and people of Ireland, who are prepared to fight and suffer, and if need be to die to asset the right of Irishmen to live in their native land.
The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 29 September 1886
The Reverend James Halpin of Roscrea was also a frequent contributor to Donahoe's Monthly Magazine, an American Catholic magazine, writing articles about Irish affairs. From 1892 to 1893 (volumes 27 to 30), he penned about 8 articles entitled "Points About the Irish Crisis". I think the "Irish Crisis" Father Halpin was referring to was the "Parnell Split", but not sure, and his articles were quite difficult for me to follow. Available online here:
In 1897, the Reverend James Halpin was promoted to Parish Priest and transferred to Scariff.
His Lordship Most Rev Dr M'Redmond has made the following promotions and changes in his diocese—
Very Rev Dr Culligan, P P, V G, Killaloe, to be P P, V G, Roscrea; Very Rev Dr Brosnahan, P P, Scariff, to be P P, V G, Killaloe; Very Rev Peter Bourke to be President, Rev R O'Connell [to be] Vice-President, and Rev A Moloney and Rev J Enright (Liverpool) third and fourth Professors of the Diocesan College, Ennis; Rev C Stuart, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Convent, Roscrea, to be P P, Clare Abbey; Rev M Vaughan, C C, Castletown Arra (Portroe); Rev James Halpin, C C, Roscrea, to be P P, Scariff; . . .
The Freeman's Journal, Dublin, 2 August 1897
Father Halpin would remain at Scariff Parish until his death in 1925 at the age of 76 years. When Sister Mary Ita McNamara died in 1936, she had been a nun for 18 years, so took her vows about 1918 — the Reverend James Halpin would have been about 68 years old then.