Margaret Cusack (1829-1899)

[var. Margaret Anna; Sister Mary Francis [sic]; M. F. Cusack; called “Nun of Kenmare”]; b. Dublin [errs. Co. Cork; nr. Kenmare]; dg. of well-to-do Protestants; brought up in Exeter on the break-up of her parents marriage; received private education; on sudden death of her fiancé she joined the Puseyite Anglican nuns at the Devonport convent founded by Mrs Seddons; disappointed in not being sent to the Crimea; converted to Catholicism and was received [i.e., confirmed] by Cardinal Wiseman, 1858; became a Catholic nun, taking vows at the Convent of the St Clares in Newry, Co. Down; sent to Kenmare to establish the Poor Clares, 1861; outspoken critic of Lord Lansdowne and later associated with the Ladies’ Land League’;
wrote 35 books including many texts on Irish history, fnd. Kenmare Publications through which 200,000 volumes of her work were issued in under ten years; kept two full-time secretaries for correspondence; letters on Irish causes in Irish, American, and Canadian press; established Famine Relief Fund; novels incl. Ned Rusheen, or Who Fired the First Shot (1871); and Tim O’Halloran’s Choice (1877), both melodramatic and pietistic; From Killarney to New York, or How Tade Became a Banker [q.d.]; issued Advice to Irish Girls in America (1872); supported by Misses Parnell, providing effective non-denominational relief;
published a History of Kerry (1871); issued a life of Daniel O’Connell (The Liberator, 1872); also A History of the Irish Nation (1877), based on Sylvester O’Halloran, et al., and particularly aspersing Carlyle on Cromwell and J. A. Froude; lives of St. Patrick, Columba and Brigid as Trias Taumaturga: The Wonder-working Saints of Ireland (1878); lent credence to the Knock apparition in a pamphlet of 1880, and visited Knock on 16 Nov. 1881; declared herself cured of long-standing rheumatism and recipient of visions; encouraged by Fr. Kavanagh, Archdeacon and PP of Knock;

left the St. Clare community at Kenmare and founded another in Churchfield House, Knock, styling herself the Mother Abbess of St. Joseph’s Convent; brought five sisters with her and recruited others in Knock; negotiated the part-return of her dowry from St. Clares and raised more funds in America, bringing her into conflict with the Land League; issued Cloister Songs and Hymns for Children (1881); vehemently refused urgings of Kavanagh and Archbishop MacEvilly of Galway to promote one Sr. Martha to position of Choir Sister, of equal ranking with herself; visited Cardinal Manning for advice and was directed to the Bishop of Nottingham, who invited her to re-establish her Poor Clare foundation there; sought support from Pope Leo XIII who dispensed her from her vows and gave her permission to establish the Sisters of Peace in Jersey City, USA;

reconverted to Anglicanism in America and began to establish shelters and vocational schools for female emigrants, provoking the hostility of the Catholic clergy, 1882; wrote a guide for Irish emigrant girls and much anti-Catholic material; also a land-league play, Tim Carty’s Trial, or Whistling at Landlords: A Play for the Times (NY 1886); returned from America to England and refused solicitations to rejoin the St. Clares; issued The Nun of Kenmare: An Autobiography (1889); wrote lectures and essays denouncing Catholicism - e.g., The Black Pope, History of the Jesuits (1896) - directed at the Jesuits; d. 5 June 1899, Leamington, in the Methodist communion. DIB DIW IF MKA OCIL

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  • Tim O’Halloran’s Choice, or From Killarney to New York (London: Burns, Oates & Co. 1877), xlviii, 18-262pp., 8º.
  • Who Fired the First Shot, or Ned Rusheen. An Irish Story (Dublin: Gill & Son 1883), [fiction].
  • His Yarn, and Another Story [i.e., “How Katie Found Jesus”] (London: Marshall, Russell, & Co. [1897]), [4], 107, [1]pp., 8º BL Microfilm NC 115557.
Social & Historical
  • An Illustrated History of Ireland; From the Earliest Period, with historical illustrations by Henry Doyle (London: Longmans 1868), xxiv, 581pp., ill. [incl. folding map]; Do. [2nd Edn.; Irish National Publications] (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1868), xxiv, 581pp. [see details]; Do. [5th edn] (London: Longmans 1872), ii, 671pp.; and Do. [facs. of 1868 edn.] (London: Bracken 1995), 671pp.
  • The Patriot’s History of Ireland (London: Burns, Oates, & Co.; Dublin: J. Duffy [&] McGlashan & Gill; J. Elwood; Boston: P. Donahoe; Melbourne: G. Robertson [1869]), 320pp., ill. [7 pls.], 25.7cm. [date of preface].
  • The Student’s Manual of Irish History (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1870), xiii, 460pp., 8º.
  • Woman’s Work in Modern Society (Kenmare: Kenmare Publ. 1872), xii, 373pp.
  • Advice to Irish Girls in America by the Nun of Kenmare [10th thousand] (NY: J.A. McGee 1872), vi, 201pp. [see details].
  • A History of the Kingdom of Kerry (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1871), xvi, 453 pp., 1 l., lxxxiiipp., 1 l., 36 pp., ill. [1 pl. front (col. M; ap)], 23 cm. [incls. blank pages at end for family records].
  • The Liberator [Daniel O’Connell], His Life and Times, Political, Social, and Religious (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1872), xlviii, 803pp.; Do., another edn., expanded and with essay on the future of Ireland (London: John G. Murdoch [1877]) [see details].
  • Speeches and Letters of O’Connell, with preface and historical notes [2 vols. in 1] (Dublin: McGlasha, 1875), 23cm. [551, 559pp.].
  • A History of the City and County of Cork (Cork: Francis Guy; Dublin: McGlashan & Gill 1875), xxii, 588pp., ill. [pls., some fold.], 25cm.;
  • A History of the Irish Nation, Social, Ecclesiastical, Biographical, Industrial, and Antiquarian (London: John G. Murdoch [1877], 1879), xvi, 956pp., ill. [19 pls. incl. port.] 4o.
  • The Case of Ireland Stated: A Plea for My People and My Race (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, 1880 [1881]), 9pp., 414pp., 19 cm.
  • The Question of To-Day: Anti-poverty and progress; Labor and capital (Chicago/NY: Belford, Clarke & Co. [1887]); vi, 173pp., 8º.
  • Saint Clare, Saint Colette and the Poor Clares, by a religious of the Order of Poor Clares (Dublin: John F. Fowler 1864), xii, 370pp.
  • Trans., Miraculous Cure at Assisi, wrought before the Shrine of St. Clare, on the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis, Sept. 17, 1866; (London: Burns, Lambert & Oates [1867]), 8pp., 8º.
  • The Life of Saint Patrick: Apostle of Ireland (Kenmare: National Publication Office; NY: T. Kehoe, Catholic Publication House 1869), 656pp., and Do. [another edn.] (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1871), xii, 656pp., folio [see note].
  • The Life of Saint Joseph, Spouse of Mary Ever Virgin, and Foster Father of Jesus [The People’s Lives of the Saints] (London 1868), q.pp. [by the author of “St. Francis and the Franciscans”].
  • The Student’s Manual of Irish History (London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1870).
  • The Life of St. Aloysius Gongaza of the Society of Jesus (London: Burns, Oates & Co. 1872), 99pp. [By the author of “The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude”, &c.], 32º.
  • The Pilgrim’s Way to Heaven [2nd edn.] (London : Burns, Oates & Co. 1873), vi, 386pp., 8º.
  • The Book of the Blessed Ones [Books for Spiritual Reading Series] (London: Burns, Oates & Co. 1874), viii,365pp.
  • Devotions for Public and Private Use at the Way of the Cross (London: R. Washbourne 1875), 129pp.
  • Jesus and Jerusalem, or The Way Home [3rd edn.] (London: Burns, Oates & Co., 1875), xii, 484pp.
  • In Memoriam: Mary O’Hagan, Abbess and Foundress of the Convent of Poor Clares, Kenmare (London : Burns & Co. 1876), xix, 407 pp. [author’s name on binding only].
  • A Nun’s Advice to Her Girls [1872] (Kenmare: Kenmare Publ. Agency 1877), 199pp. [3rd edn.].
  • The Trias Thaumaturga; or, Three Wonder-Working Saints of Ireland (London: John G. Murdoch [1878]), 4º [lives of Patrick, Columba, and St Brigit - contains translation of Tripartite Life of Patrick, by W. M. Hennessy, pp.393-534].
  • The life and times of His Holiness Pope Pius IX (Kenmare Publications 1878), xxix, 710pp., ill., 29cm.
  • Good Reading for Girls (London: Burns, Oates & Co.; Dublin: [M.] H. Gill, 1877 1877), xv, 222pp.
  • Life of Dr. Dixon Primate of Armagh (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son; London: Burns & Co. 1878), xxvii, 541pp.
  • The Apparition at Knock; with the depositions of the witness[es] examined by the Ecclesiastical Commission appointed by His Grace the Archbishop of Tuam and the conversion of a young Protestant lady by a vision of the Blessed Virgin (London: Burns, Oates & Co.; Dublin: M. H. Gill 1880), 118pp., 8⩝.
  • Cloister Songs (1881).
  • The Present Case of Ireland Plainly Stated; a Plea for My People and My Race (NY: P. J. Kenedy 1881), 414pp., liv., 8º.
  • Three Visits to Knock, With the medical certificates of cures and authentic account of different apparitions (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son; London: Washbourne 1882); viii, 140pp.,8º.
  • Prayers and other Devotions for Times of Public Calamity or Pestilence (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son; London: Washbourne 1883). 56pp., 12º.
  • Devotions for Pilgrims of Knock (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son; London: Washbourne 1883), 61pp., 12º.
  • A Souvenir of Knock (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son; London: Washbourne [1883]), ill., 8º [oblong].
  • Life Inside the Church of Rome (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1889), xxiv, 408pp.
  • A Remarkable Book and Two Remarkable Relics (London: Marshall Bros. 1892), 119pp., 8º.
  • What Rome Teaches (London: Marshall Bros. 1892), 169pp.
  • The Black Pope: A History of the Jesuits (London: Marshall, Russell & Co.; Brighton: D. B. Friend & Co. [1896]), 406pp.
  • Is There a Roman Catholic Church? [Straws, No. 1] (London: Marshall, Russell & Co.; Brighton: D. B. Friend & Co. 1897), 16pp., 8º.
  • An Open Letter to Lord Halifax (London: Marshall, Russell & Co. [1897]), 91pp. [on Christian unity].
  • [Vigilant,] Revolution and War: The Secret Conspiracy of the Jesuits in Great Britain (London: Swan: Sonnenschein & Co. 1910), 186pp.; Do. [2d edn.] (London: George Allen 1913), xii, 186pp., and Do. [new & revised edn.] (London: Stanley Paul & Co. 1913). [contra Jesuits; alt. sub-title: or, Britain’s Peril and Her Secret Foes].
  • [Anon.,] Five Years in a Protestant Sisterhood and Ten Years in a Catholic Convent: An Autobiography ( Longmans, Green, & Co. 1869), xxiv, 324 [+4pp. adverts.], and Do. [facs. rep., in Nineteenth Century; No. N.1.1.14803 / General Collection] (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey 2002), 4 microfiches.
  • The Nun of Kenmare: An Autobiography (London: Jonah Child [1888]).
  • xxi, 558.pp.; Do. [reiss.] (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1889), and Do. intro. by Maria Luddy [facs. rep. edn. Vol. 6 of Irish Women’s Writing, 1839-1888] ] (London: Routledge/Thoemmes 1998), xv, xx, 556p., port.
  • Life Inside the Church of Rome (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1889), 408pp.
  • The Story of My Life (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1891), xi, 403pp., ill. [port.; presum. reiss. of Autobiography, 1889].
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Bibliographical details
An Illustrated History of Ireland
/ From AD 400 to 1800 / Mary Frances Cusack / ‘The Nun of Kenmare’ / Illustrations by / Henry Doyle (1868) [see table of contents & extract attached.]

Advice to Irish Girls in America / by the Nun of Kenmare [... &c.; 10th thousand] (NY: J.A. McGee 1872), vi, 201pp. CONTENTS [chapter titles]. Begin at the Beginning; How to Get Rich; The Honor of Being Servants; Some Advice about Different Duties Which We May Have to Do; Same Subject, Continued; Advice about Honesty; Advice about Temptations; Advice about Prayer and the Sacraments; Advice about the Sacraments, Continued; Advice about Good Example; Points of Controversy Between Catholics and Protestants; Advice about Devotions to Our Blessed Lady. [Note - each chapter is given in capital letters divided into subsections in lower case within the table of contents, though not in the text itself - the last such subsection being ‘The Pope’s Letter to the Sister’, p.199. [See also under Quotations, infra.]

The Life of Saint Patrick: Apostle of Ireland (Kenmare: National Publication Office; NY: T. Kehoe, Catholic Publication House 1869) - Whitley Stokes remarks in his Introduction to The Tripartite Life of St. Patrick (HMSO 1887) that versions of the text of the life had previously been published - a Latin on by John Colgan in his Triadas Traumaturgae (Louvain 1647), an English one by Mr. Hennessy in Miss Cusack’s Life of Saint Patrick (London 1870) [sic], pp.371-502. [See Tripartite Life, ed. Stokes, 2 vols. (London: Stationary Office 1877) - available online.]

The Liberator / His / Life and Times / Political, Social and Religious; with an essay on the Future of Ireland, by M. F. Cusack (the Nun of Kenmare), author of The History of the Irish Nation, The Trias Thamaturgus [sic], &c., llustrated with many woodcuts, steel plates, and chromo-lithographs (John G. Murdoch, 11, Castle Street, Holborn, London, E.C.) [n.d.; 1877], xlix, 829pp., 4º.

The Present Case of Ireland Plainly Stated: A Plea for My People and My Race, by Mary Francis Cusack (NY: P. J. Kenedy Excelsior Catholic Publishing Co. 1881), 414pp., lvpp. [XIX titled chaps. 7 appendices]; front. port.; engraving of Michael Davitt, p.1 verso. [See extract.]

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  • Edwin J. Byard, ‘The Nun of Kenmare,’ in Irish Book Lover, 6 (1915), pp.133-34.
  • Irene ffrench Eager, The Nun of Kenmare, preface by Margaret MacCurtain (Cork [UP] 1970), and Do. [2nd edn.], as Margaret Anna Cusack: One Woman’s Campaign for Women’s Rights: A Biography (Dublin: Arlen House 1979).
  • Dorothy Vidulich, Peace Pays a Price: A Study of Margaret Anna Cusack, the Nun of Kenmare, foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace (Center for Peace and Justice 1975).
  • Sister Philomena McCarthy, OSC, The Nun of Kenmare: The True Facts, researched & written by [SPMcC] (Killarney Printing Works [1989]), 86pp. [extracts]
  • Catherine Ferguson, CSJP, Margaret Anna Cusack (The Nun of Kenmare), Knock, November 1881-December 1883 (Belfast: Gaelbooks 2009), 101pp.

See also Sr. Philomena McCarthy, recalling the history Kenmare and Sr. Mary Francis Cusack, in Maurice O’Keeffe [ed.], Irish Life and Lore: 120 CD ROMs, No.4 [printed p.45] - online.

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Sister Philomena McCarthy, OSC, The Nun of Kenmare: The True Facts (Kilarney Printing Works [1989]), 86pp. Refers to a biog. by Miss Irene Ffrench Eager (1970), with remarks: ‘It seems to me that Ms Ffrench Eager’s book of 1970 is for the most part based on the autobiographies published by the ex-nun when she was in a disturbed state of mind and was being manipulated by bigots to bring odium on the Catholic Church. In fairness to Ms. Ffrench Eagar I must say that she asked for my ideas on the subject but I was very reticent, because I really hoped that poor Sr. Mary Francis Clare would be allowed to reamin in the oblivion she had enjoyed for seventy years.’ Biographical account [summary]: b. 6 May 1829, dg. Samuel and Sarah Cusack; St. Peter Parish, Dublin; her father a doctor on York St.; on her father’s decline in health, her mother removed to Devonshire where Grannie Baker took interest in Margaret Ann’s health; her m. more interested in her brother; she more sympathetic towards her father; travelled to Dublin without permission and found her father ill-treated by Protestant minister’s family paid for his keep; located him with other relatives; death of her fiancé Charles Holmes; introduced to Anglican sisterhood by Puseyites; became Catholic after five years; entered St. Clare Convent in Newry; sent by Mother O’Hagan to new fountation in Kenmare with five others; studied O’Donovan, O’Curry and Aubrey de Vere; contacted William Wilde, Denis McCarthy and W. Henenssy, as well as John O’Hagan, QC; Illustrated History of Ireland (1868); encomiastic poem by McCarthy; first edition brought £300; The Patriot’s History of Ireland (1869); Five Years in a Protestant Sisterhood and Ten Years in a Catholic Convent (1869); Honehurst Rectory (1872), ridiculing Dr. Pusey and the other founders; trans. The Life of St. Gertrude; A Life of St. Patrick, based on translated MSS by W. Hennessy; edn. burned out completely, 1872 at premisses of O’Donahoe of Donahoe’s Magazine; accusation of plagiarism; History of Kerry (1871); A History of Cork; Liberator [ ... &c.] (1872), drawing on family records; Fr Theobald Mathew (1874); Woman’s Work in Modern Society (1872); Speeches and Letters of O’Connell (1875); In Memoriam: Life of Mother O’Hagan (1876); Trias Thaumaturga (1877); debts to the printers Ballantyne of Glasgow of £1,400 necessitated the sale of copyright of History of Ireland and Trias Thaum. to Murdoch of Holborn, London for £3,000; Lives of Brigid and Columcille, 1878; Life of Dr. Dixon Primate of Armagh [1878]; Lectures for Eccles. Students (from French); The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Life of Pope Pius IX. [Cont.]

Sister Philomena McCarthy (The Nun of Kenmare: The True Facts, 1989) - cont.‘She fought for her own personal rights but her demands for women’s rights in general were not world-shaking’ (p.18); also opposed co-education; doubted mental equality of women and though degrees wasted on them; disliked leveling of classes in education; author considers that her failure to grasp the aspirations of the people of the region’may have caused tension’ led to friction with the other nuns [21]; younger contemps. in the convent remember her as furious when disturbed and capable of making physical attacks, tugging off their veils [28]; Her earnings for the convent came to a total of 3,024 incl. the sum of £1,400 from the sale of copyright to Murdoch. [31]. Cusack raised £15,000 in the famine year of 1879 and distributed same; railed against Lord Landsdowne and his agent Townsend Trench; appears not to have published Case Stated in Ireland in view on libels on Trench; there is a Boston edn. of 1881; did not associate with the Land League and was embarrassed by letter from a bishop friend of hers to Canon Burke calling her President of the Land League, writing in A1 that so far from being President she had ‘some reasons for not approving of this movement’ and ‘never associated [her]self with it in any way’. [37]. Cusack aas visited by Charles Russell, QC, investigating events on the Lansdowne estate; effectively absconded from her convent on a supposed visit to Knock on 16 Nov. 1881, styling herself the Mother Abbess of St. Joseph’s Convent, Knock, and in the company of four novices and a lay sister from the Cavan Convent. [47] Settled to receive back a share of her dowry from the St. Clares; claimed that the St. Clare’s had been brought to Kenmare in place of the Presentation sisters for political reasons [49]; point disproved by author. Generally regards the Nun’s accusations as products of disturbed mind. [52]; left Catholic Church in 1888; first autobiog, 1889. [77] MCCarthy cites other titles by Cusack: The Nun of Kenmare; The Story of My Life; The Present Case of Ireland Plainly Stated; Protestant Sisterhoods and Catholic Convents; Woman’s Work in Modern Society; The Life and Times of His Holiness Pope Pius IX.

George Thomas Stokes & Charles H. H. Wright [Rev.], Writings of St Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland: A revised Translation, with Notes, Critical and Historical (London: James Nisbet & Co.; Dublin: Hodges Figgis & Co. 1887), refers to Miss Cusack’s Life [1871] and calls it a ‘work of special importance, not only because it is the fullest work on the subject written from a Roman Catholic standpoint, but also because it contains, pp.369-502, “the Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, Translated from the Original Irish by W. M. Hennessy, Esq., MRIA’ [… &c.]

Jane McL. Côté, Fanny & Anna Parnell (1991), account of Margaret Anne Cusack, amassed £15,000 in her famine fund, extraordinary for any individual in comparison with the mansion House fund of £250,000; the sudden death of her fiancé occurring, she joined Anglican sisterhood founded by Pusey; found it a subterfuge for empty convents; went ‘Roman’; produced astonishing string of weighty tomes of Irish history; regularly wrote letters in American, Canadian and Australian journels on Irish affairs; relieved distress in Kerry, printing lists of those farmers who were helped, using Kenmare Publications [pp.116-17]; also p.146, 191, 286n.; 291; and photo port., plate 16.

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Advice to Irish Girls in America / by the Nun of Kenmare [... &c.; 10th thousand] (NY: J.A. McGee 1872): ‘I have heard of several families who have been converted to the Catholic faith by the good examle of their servants, and [160] the good explanation which they gave of their religion. / Certainly, my children, we may not all be able to speak well or explain our Holy Faith well, but we can give good example, and that is the best sermon we can preach. / We shold also remembers that we oght to be very patient and gentle when we hear others ridicule our religiiion. I am sorry to say there are some Protestants who dothis, some Protestants who whill torment their fellow servants with being "Papists" and "Irish". Now we need not to be ashamed either of our religion or our country, and if people revile us for either, that is no reason why we are to commit sin. [..]’ (p.160f.)

The Liberator / His / Life and Times / Political / Social and Religious, by Mary Cusack, author of the Illustrated History of Ireland, &c. &c. (London: Kenmare Publ. 1872) [note, no other publ. details] front. engr. ill. of Mount Melleray Abbey – O’Connell in Retreat; Preface, [vii]-xlii; ‘It is strange, but non the less true, that the majority of Englishmen know far less about the real state of ireland than they do about the state of continental coountries. The result of this ignorance is the intellectual disability to appreciate a character like O’Connells. We believe this ignorance arises from one cause, and from one cause only: it is impossible to form a correct judgement on any subject when the will is biassed by prejudice, and the incorrectness of the judgement will be proportionate to the extent of the prejudice. / It has been our special object throughout the present work to quote from English authorities for proof of all assertions made regarding English misgovernment of Ireland. Irishmen do not need such corroborative evidence; but as we believe that this work will circulate as largely as other historical works by the present writer among Englishmen of the upper classes, we offer them, in [vii] proof of our assertions, such evidence as they can scarcely set aside.’; reviles Lecky for his paragraph: ‘When to the great services he rendered to his country we oppose the sectarian and class warfare that resulted from his policy, the fearful elements of discord he evoked, and which he alone could in some degree control, it may be questioned whether his life was a blessing or a curse to Ireland. (Leaders of Public Opinion.) Cusack remarks: ‘the most cursory acquaintance with the history of Ireland during O’Connell’s long and chequered career would surely prove the incorrectness of such a conclusion’, quoting Lecky further: ‘With the exception of his advocacy of Repeal, no part of his Irish policy injured him so much in the eyes of the English people as the opinions he hazarded about the Church; but judged by the light of the events of our own day, they will be pronounced very reasonable and very moderate.’ [ix] ‘The Irish are admitted to be an intelligent race, even by their worst enemies; they cannot fail to see the injustice which is done to them day after day by educated Englishmen; and they cannot fail to feel, and to feel keenly, that their misfortunes, to use a mild expression, which are not their own fault, are made a subject of ridicule by those whose first object, whose first duty, should have been to alleviate them.’ [x] ‘Mr . Lecky’s incorrect estimate of O’Connell’s character’ [x] ‘calls the “god-sent” Famine’ the ‘only calamity which no man has ever dared to charge on the Irish themselves’ [xi]; calls the ‘parish priest’ the ‘poor man’s only friend’ [xi]; ‘habit of meeting Irish complaints with contempt’ [xiii; cont.]

The Liberator, His Life and Times (1872) - cont.: ‘At the present time an autobiography is drawing out its slow length in the pages of Fraser’s Magazine, the sole object of which appears to be to throw contempt on Ireland and the Irish; and the suggestions made for the hundredth time, to try depopulaton, or rather to “populate the land with Chinese and reaping machines, with monkeys, or any other animal but the Celt” [xiv]/ Instances another writer in Fraser’s who suggests that Lower Castle Yard should be given up to a factory to make halters and cat o’ nine tails, and comments: ‘we suspect it [the suggestion] is so couched to hide an earnestness of which the writer has the grace, as yet, to be a little ashamed. But if gentlemen write such jokes, they must recollect that theos to whom they would not give that name will write such things in earnest’, further citing a letter suggesting that wherever an outrage was committed the parish priest should be ‘the victim, because he was supposed to be cognisant of the offender through the confessional, and unwilling to give him up to justice. Are we returning to the dark ages?’ [xv; note apparent reference to the case of Cpt. Mahon.] ‘From the day on which O’Connell obtained freedom of education for Irish gentlemen to the present hour, a certain [xvi] party, and a large party, of English gentlemen have tried to fetter that freedom as far as it was possible for them to do so. In O’Connell’s corresondence with Dr. MacHale, he reiterates his opinion that the education of Irish gentlemen should be confided to the clergy of their church. if Irish gentlemen wish for such education, is it not a grave interference with the liberty of the subject to forbid it to them.’ [xvii] Mr. Gladstone may read the Times for information; but the Times will not tell of landlord oppression or tenant wrong, unless some flagrant case comes before the public, which is forgotten as soon as it is read’; cites also the Telegraph, and the Standard ‘[in which] he will find his Irish policy roughly handled; but he will know that this is chiefly done for political motives.’ [xx] wonders what statesman troubles to read the Freeman’s Journal, or the Telegraph, or the Irishman, or the Cork Examiner, or the Herald, or the Northern Star ‘or the people’s papers in Derry and Galway, Waterford and Clonmel?’; ‘What wonder, then, that the countries are “united” only in name, and tht the severance of this union is demanded by those who are hopeless of being understood!’ [xxi; cont.]

The Liberator, His Life and Times (1872) - cont. ‘The Irish are taunted and reproached, I must say cruelly, with their poverty; yet with the passing of the recent Land Bill, they were not allowed even a chance of bettering their conditions; they were to make bricks, they [xxi] were cried out against as idle, yet never a straw were they allowed; may, if they even attempted to find straw, it was taken from them.’ [xxii] notes that the Disestablishment of the Church has not ‘bettered the condition of the poor one iota’ and ‘was done rather as a peace-offering at the shrine of public opinion than as a special kindness to them’ [xxii] ‘We are far from wishing to hear of the disestablishment of the Protestant Church of England; but if it does not disintegrate [xxii] itself from utter inability to cohere in almost every point of doctrine, those who note the signs of the times on the political horizon, are freely predicting its speedy dissolution by Act of Parliament’ [xxiii] refers to ‘absentee-landords’ and ‘half-starving peasants’ [xxiii] ‘No country can prosper unless those who till the soil are permitted a sufficient remuneration for their labour, to enable them, in their turn, to encourage manufacturers. Chinese and reaping-machines might support absentee landlords in affluence, but they could not raise any country in the social scale’ [xxiv] pervasive reference to Mr. Lowe, whose ‘life’ as an Irish peasant is earlier contemplated and who seems to be the author of the ‘Chinese’ suggestion; recommends ‘honest Englishman’ to ‘read the Irish local papers’ [xxv] reference to ‘the article on “The Literature of the Land Qeustion in Ireland”, in which the author writes that ‘a thorough understaning of the Irish question cannot be obtained withouot a knowledge of the existence of this literature, and a careful study of it’ [xxv] extended commentary on statements of Meath Tenant Defence Association in Drogheda Argus [xxv & seq.] ‘In England we find Mr. Gladstone taunted again and again with subservience to the Irish hierarchy on the Education question, for purposes of keeping himself in power’ [xxvii] adverts to Bismarck’s efforts to be rid of Jesuits, and speaks of ‘an eternal enmity between the world and the Church […] predicted by the Eternal Truth’ [xxvii]’; ‘If Englishmen do not know, they ought to know, that Catholics cannot separate politics from religion. There is a moral aspect of every political question; the Catholic receives his moral teaching from his Church; it is then absurd to ask him to consider such questions apart from such teaching; it is childish to bandy such terms as “priest-ridden” and “ultra-Montane”.’ [Cont.]

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The Liberator, His Life and Times (1872) - cont.: ‘Protestants choose to call the Irish peasant priest-ridden, simply because they cannot understand the principle upon [[xxviii] which the Irish peasant acts.’ [xxix] counts as very few the ‘Irish Catholics’ who have ‘lost the freshness of their faith, who are half ashamed of their religion which they are still afraid to foresake’, claiming that ‘perhaps fifty such gentlemen might be found in all Ireland [..] complemented largely on their liberality and their spirit by their Protestant [friends] and they are gratified by the complement. They may proclaim their one opinions, but they have no right [xxix] to speak for others, or to give a false impression of their religion.’ [xxx] cites Mr. Justice Keogh’s denunciation of the ‘tyranny of the bishops’ and the ‘violence, dishonesty, and equivocatioin of the priests’ [xxx] calls him ‘a eulogist of a certain class of landlords’ [xxxi] refers to a pamphlet of 1851 by Keogh against MacHale, in which also remarks about the landlord class as a ‘heartless aristocracy’ that has made Ireland a ‘howling wilderness’; [xxxii] further cites a speech of Lord Westmeath in the House of Lords, 10th June 1863, in which he repeated a speech of Keogh covertly urging the assassination of supporters of Sir. R. Levinge, and seeking [Westmeath] to know if such a person was fit for the rank of Solicitor-General; report seconded by Lord Derby, with evidence of a Rev. Mr. Hopkins; Keogh denies the charge [xxxiv] but subsequently made apology in letter to Duke of Newcastle, claiming not to remember using ‘any language even similar to that attributed’ to him [xxxv] ends with thanks to MacHale for use of his corr. with O’Connell, as well as Dr. Purcell of Cincinnati for some documents relating to slavery; also P. J. Fitzpatrick, for valuable collection of old newspapers and advance sheets of Life of Dr. Lanigan; Maurice Lenihan, JP (Limerick); Isaac Butt; John Gray, MP; P. J. O’Carroll; Mitchell Henry, for copy of speech of 25th July 1872 [berating Keogh and defending the piety of Irish peasants], ‘all the more remarkable’ as coming from a ‘Protestant gentleman’; J. J. O’Hanlon; and refers to Webb’s library, much frequented by Catholic clergy, and therefore evidence that ‘party prejudce is confined now, as it was in the time of O’Connell, to a class whom nothing will satisfy except orange ascendancy, and [xli] liberty to tyrannise over all who differ from them in politics or religion.’ [END]. 16 chapters with copious topical subsections. Further remarks: ‘Catholics have never rebelled against any temporal sovereign, unless such rebellion has been justified by the necessity for the conservation of the [power] of One higher than any earthy monarch; and such resistances to any lawayful constituted human rule have been rare.’ (1872 Edn., p.79); ‘the influence of the Catholic faith, and the power of the Catholic priesthood alone prevented the Irish Celt from avenging his wrongs, not indeed with the ferocity of a communist, for teh Irish Celt has no taint of cruelty in his nature, but with the unflinching vengeance of a Roman plebeian.’ (p.83.)

The Present Case of Ireland Plainly Stated: A Plea for My People and My Race (NY 1881)

‘My Case is:—

1. That English people do not know the true state of Ireland. They are ignorant of it historically, because they only read the prejudiced narratives of English historians. They are ignorant of it socially, because they do not read the Irish papers, and English papers give, with few exceptions, only one side of the question.

That English people suppose the Irish to be a lawless, indolent, ungrateful race, because the English papers report “outrages” which never happened, whereas, in point of fact, there are far fewer outrages in Ireland than in England. I refer to the present work for evidence, carefully collected, the last (to this date) manufactured outrage being denied by Mr. O’Reilly, Lord Greville’s agent, who said that the man said to have been shot at did not exist. The last English outrage which did happen I find reported in the Echo, where it is stated that arsenic sufficient to kill 200 people was placed in a haunch of mutton which was sent anonymously to Mr. Ashdown, the Duke of Cleveland’s agent.

That the case of the Irish, or Anglo-Irish, landlords alone is heard in England, when nothing is heard of the manner in which so many of these gentlemen virtually break the law by compelling their unfortunate tenants to evade Mr. Gladstone’s Land Bill. The English people ought to know that a law made in England for the benefit of Ireland is persistently set at defiance by the very gentlemen who are calling the Irish law-breakers, and who are calling out for coercion. Of this I give evidence in the following pages.

That the English people know nothing of the countless injustices done to the Irish tenant by “rules of estates,” an arbitrary code of laws enforced by Irish landlords, from which Irish tenants have no protection. Of this I give evidence.

That the Irish are not lazy when they refuse to pay rents which are extortionate, and will not allow them to have the necessities of life [...] That those who refuse to pay more than Griffith’s Valuation, are not doing so from dishonest motives, or because they are unwilling to pay any rent; but that they are doing so on the principle on which all English labour strikes, are carried out ; i.e., contending for more to be given to the man, and less to the master — for more to be given to labour, and less to capital. (n.p.)


[Signed:] Kenmare December 8th, 1880;

[ Available at Internet Archive online [copy in Harvard College Liibrary ]

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COPAC lists The Black Pope: a history of the Jesuits (1896); The case of Ireland state: a plea for my people and my race (1880); A history of the city and county of Cork (1875); Illustrated history of Ireland: from the earliest period (1872), and an earlier edn. of the same title (1868); The liberator: his life and times, political, social and religious 1899. 1872 The Liberator: his life & times, political, social & religious (1872); The life of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland (1871); The life of the Most Rev. Joseph Dixon, D.D., Primate of all Ireland, by the author of Jesus and Jerusalem (1878); The nun of Kenmare: an autobiography (?rep. edn. 1998); Saint Clare, Saint Colette and the Poor Clares (1864); The speeches and public letters of the liberator [Daniel O’Connell 1775-1847] with preface and historical notes (1875); The story of my life (1891); The Trias thaumaturga: or three wonder-working saints of Ireland, St. Patrick, St. Bridget, and St. Columba (1877); Woman’s work in Modern Society (1874). Commentary, Dorothy Vidulich, Peace Pays a Price: A Study of Margaret Anna Cusack, the Nun of Kenmare, Foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace (1975)

COPAC [also listed - other persons]: In His Majesty’s High Court of Delegates in Ireland: William Smith and Joseph Fagan, appellants. Mary Cusack [...] respondent. The respondent’s case [William Smith, fl.1785; Revolution and war; or, Britain’s peril and her secret foes (1913). Also [another author,] Sr. Mary Thomasine Cusack, The significance of a changing concept of ownership in social and economic planning (1940). [Go online at COPAC > Mary Cusack - search.]

Library Catalogues
BRITISH LIBRARY holds [no author] Who Fired the First Shot, or Ned Rusheen. An Irish Story (Dublin: Gill & Son 1883), BELFAST PUBLIC LIBRARY holds Nun of Kenmare, an Autobiography (1889); History of Ireland (1876); ... Cork; ... Kerry; Story of My Life (1893); Life of the most Rev Joseph Dixon, D.D.; Life of St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland; The Liberator, His Life and Times; In Memoriam, Mary O’Hagan. ULSTER UNIVERSITY CENTRAL LIBRARY ( & Morris Collection), holds An Illustrated History of Ireland (1868); Life of St. Patrick; Speeches ... of the Liberator; Cusack, Mary Frances, Life of St. Patrick (1869).

De Burca
(Cat. 44, 1997) lists: with John MacPhilbin, The Apparitions and Miracles at Knock; also The Official Depositions of the Eye-Witnesses. Bound with Three Visits to Knock. With the Medical Certificates of Cures and Authentic Accounts of Different Apparitions. Illustrated. Two volumes in one. New York, Kennedy, 1904. Pages (1) 142 (2) viii, 135. Spine neatly rebacked. Fine. Rare. [£150]. A History of the Kingdom of Kerry. Illustrated. Dublin, De Burca 1995. Pages, xvi, 453, 6 (extra maps), Ixxxiii. [£35.00]. The Life of the Most Rev. Joseph Dixon, D.D. Primate of All Ireland. Frontis. London, Burns, c.1878. Pages, xxviii, 556. Scarce [£75]. Woman’s Work in Modern Society. Kenmare, 1874. Pages, xii, 373. Slight foxing to prelims. Fine. Scarce [£125]

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Bio-dates: Stephen Brown (Ireland in Fiction, 1919) implies a birth-date of 1829 [70 yrs before 1899]; DIW DIB concur in 1832; Autobiog. says 1832.

Black Popes: Cusack’s account of the Jesuits in The Black Pope, History of the Jesuits (1896) resembles a similar-named work by the Methodist minister Rev Oliver Murray entitled The Black Pope, or Jesuit Conspiracy in American Institutions (1892), 255pp. The nomenclature first arose in Jean Hippolyte Michon’s La Jésuite (1865) which characterised the Jesuit superiorpgeneral John Roothan in these terms. (See The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits, ed. Thomas Worcester, USA: Sheridan Books 2017). Her Black Pope was reprinted in Seattle by CreationSpace in 2014. [See Worcester, online; accessed 30.08.2017.)

Sheila Birtchnell is conducting MA research into ‘Sister Cusack, the Nun of Kenmare’ at Bathspa Univ. College (1999).

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