West-Cork Presentation Sister, Josephine McCarthy has been chosen as Cork Person of the Month for November in honour of her 30+ years of work in community development.
Known as Sister Jo, her missionary work has led her to the Cork and Ross Mission in Peru in 1978 and later to Presentation Missions in Ecuador and Peru, South America where she worked for 20 years before returning to Ireland in the early 2000’s.
“We did serve in some very dangerous places whilst doing our missionary work – when in Ecuador we lived in an area which was completely lawless and every dispute was settled with an axe “ remembers Jo. For many years she supported a development education programme with Presentation Secondary Schools, facilitating an immersion experience for teachers and students in Africa, Pakistan and India.
In 2006, the Presentation Sisters established the Cork Migrant Centre (CMC) at Nano Nagle Place (NNP) in Cork City. The centre provides free, confidential information on access to services and immigration issues to EU and non-EU migrants. Sister Jo has been a key shaper and developer of programs at the Cork Migrant Centre.
NNP, under the direction of CEO, John Smith, houses an award-winning museum, regenerated heritage buildings, walled gardens, a design shop & Cork focussed bookshop and the wonderful Good Day Deli. NNP is also an outreach centre promoting development education, social inclusion and integration. The Lantern Project, Men’s Group and Cork Migrant Centre host a range of events, activities and outreach programmes supporting over 385 participants weekly. Cork Migrant Centre is a Psychosocial Wellbeing and Integration Hub, creating ‘safe spaces’ where migrants can enhance their skills and capacities (emotional, physical, cognitive, social, and cultural). CMC also initiates integration opportunities by building collaborations, partnerships’ and linkages Nationally & Internationally. CMC is committed to supporting residents of Direct Provision centres across the city and county and is a leading voice at national level in the promotion and protection of migrants’ rights.
A native of Ballinacarriga, Dunmanway, from a young age, Jo was inspired by the legacy of Nano Nagle, founder of the Presentation Sisters. Jo followed in Nano’s footsteps discovering a calling to work on the Missions. She has said that Nano Nagle has been a constant in her very colourful life that took her to Peru and Ecuador.
In 2018, Sister Jo stepped down as Director of CMC but she remains an active volunteer with Dr Naomi Masheti and her dynamic team.
Josephine’s name will now go forward alongside the other monthly winners for possible selection as Cork Persons of the Year at the annual Gala Awards Lunch in January, 2024.