Society of the Sacred Heart, Armagh, Northern Ireland

Repository: Society of the Sacred Heart Provincial Archives

Identity Statement

TitleSociety of the Sacred Heart, Armagh, Northern Ireland
Archive ReferenceIE SSHI-S/AMH
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1823-1964
Extent Medium16 boxes


Creator(s): Society of the Sacred Heart, Irish-Scottish Province

  • Administrative History ↴

    The Society of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic religious congregation founded in France in 1800 by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, in response to the extreme violence of Revolutionary France. In such a broken society Sophie Barat hoped the Society of the Sacred Heart would make present the love of God revealed in the Heart of Christ and help the restoration of Christian life in France. Its major work was the education of young women of the rich and the poor classes. The Society of the Sacred Heart quickly expanded within Europe and beyond, and came to Ireland in 1842. Members use the suffix "RSCJ" which stands for Religieuses du Sacré-Cœur de Jésus, or Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It currently has a presence in forty-one countries. In 1851 a second Convent of the Sacred Heart was founded in Ireland at Armagh, at the express wish of Dr. Paul Cullen, newly appointed archbishop of Armagh. That year Mother Eliza Croft and five sisters from Roscrea arrived in Armagh in response to a letter from Dr. Cullen, Archbishop of Armagh to Dr Kirby, President of the Irish College in Rome; ‘I have been speaking about getting over some ladies of the Sacred Heart to Armagh and I am told that it would be an excellent place for them. There is no school for young ladies in the entire province of Ulster. There is no Convent at all in Armagh and the town is large and respectable.’ They rented a house knows as the Pavilion from Captain Algeo. By 1853 the new foundation was beginning to take shape and the convent provided; a poor school for three hundred children, a day school for forty children and a boarding school for eighteen children. The new Primate Dixon gave the convent and schools whatever assistance he could. In July 1856, John Stanly, solicitor, bought the Pavillion and gave the sisters notice to move as he wished to take up residence in the house. In 1857 No. 2 Charlemont Place was rented as the new convent and Poor school continued in No. 24 Abbey Street. In June 1859 the sisters negotiated to take over the land known as Tullasney in the town land of Lurgyvallon. The land was named Mount St Catherine on the suggestion of Primate Dixon and the sisters moved into their new home in June 1859. The community joined with the Armagh people in facing years of poverty and social, religious and cultural deprivation in the aftermath of the Great Famine. In those early years, the sisters reached out, not only to the school-going population but, through evening classes, to the working women of the parish. In 1956 a third school, the Convent Secondary Intermediate School, was opened in the grounds of the Convent. In September 1973 The Sacred Heart Secondary Intermediate School and the Sacred Heart Grammar School amalgamated. It was decided that the name of the new schools should be Saint Catherine's College, Convent of the Sacred Heart. Between 1973 and 1975 the boarding school was phased out. In 2001 the future of Sacred Heart Education was secured in Armagh with the establishment of the Sacred Heart Trust Armagh. The two Sacred Heart Schools, Mount St Catherine's Primary School and Saint Catherine's College, became part of Saint Patrick's Educational Trust in the Archdiocese of Armagh Society of the Sacred Heart. In 2001 the Society of the Sacred Heart celebrated 150 years in Armagh.
  • Archival History ↴

    The collection forms part of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Irish-Scottish Province archival collection. It was deposited to the Provincial Archives Office, Society of the Sacred Heart, Irish-Scottish Province in 1994. Material deposited from Saint Catherine’s College, Armagh, Northern Ireland or Society of the Sacred Heart, Armagh, Northern Ireland.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Society of the Sacred Heart, Irish-Scottish Province ↴

    The papers provide an insight to the RSCJ community and convent in Armagh from 1823 to 1964. Included are financial and administrative records, school journals, student registers, records of sodalities and records relating to the town of Armagh. There are also property records, and of note, documents detailing the fire that burnt much of the convent on 14 February 1964.
    The collection contains a wealth of information regarding religious sisters, Catholic education in Northern Ireland, women’s history and local history.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    All items retained permanently
  • Accruals ↴

    Periodic accruals
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:
    A. Finance, 1823
    B. Ecclesiastics, 1828-20th century
    C. Community and religious life, 1842-20th century
    D. Foundation, 1850-1964
    E. Convent administration,1851-1964
    F. Religeuses du Sacre Coeur de Jesus, 1851-1964
    G. Property, 1854–20th century
    H. School, c. 1850-1964
    I. Sodalities, congregations and confraternities, 1860-1964
    J. Convent of the Sacred Heart, Loreto, Italy, 1860-61
    K. Story of ‘Bread Multiplied,’ c. 19th century
    L. La Colombe, c. 1880s
    M. Cures from illness, c. 1895
    N. Staff, 1950-c. 1964
    O. Armagh city, c. 20th century
    P. Photographs, c. 19th-20th centuries

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions The Provincial Archives Office, Society of the Sacred Heart, Irish-Scottish Province, Mount Anville Road, Dublin 14 is open to bona fide researchers. Hours: Thursday & Friday, 10am until 4pm. Please contact the Provincial Archivist by email for an appointment at
Conditions Governing ReproductionNo material may be reproduced without the written permission of the Provincial Archivist. Copyright restrictions apply. Photocopying is not available. Digital photography is not permitted.
Creation Dates1823-1964
Extent Medium16 boxes
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Characteristics Tech ReqBound volumes, photographs, loose documents. Careful handling is required
Finding Aids Descriptive lists can be consulted in the Provincial Archives Office, Society of the Sacred Heart, Irish-Scottish Province Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialSociety of the Sacred Heart, Irish-Scottish Provincial Archives; Aberdeen, Craiglockhart, Harcourt Street-Lesson Street, Kilgraston, Monkstown, Mount Anville, Roscrea

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteEibhlis Connaughton,1994
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.
Date of Descriptions42036