Society of the Sacred Heart, Roscrea

Repository: Society of the Sacred Heart Provincial Archives

Identity Statement

TitleSociety of the Sacred Heart, Roscrea
Archive ReferenceIE SSHI-S/RSA
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1823-1964
Extent Medium63 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 1823 three Brigidine sisters from Mountrath founded the first post-Reformation convent in the Diocese of Killaloe. In their convent at Air Hill they had a boarding school for thirty girls and a free school (later a National School) for sixty poor children. By 1841 the community needed help and the superior, Mother Teresa McMahon contacted the Society of the Sacred Heart. Mother Barat was keen to establish the Society in England or Ireland at this time and in May 1842 Mother Eliza Croft and Mother Charlotte Goold, visited Roscrea. She quickly realised the extent of the challenge facing the community and the townspeople of Roscrea at the height of the Famine. On 21 June 1842 the Society of the Sacred Heart and the Brigidine sisters amalgamated with Mother Croft as the superior. That same year the Roscrea Union Workhouse was built to shelter seven hundred paupers. The Society of the Sacred Heart supported the poor of Roscrea during the Great Famine, and Mother Croft and Teresa McMahon gained reputations for great compassion. The Society developed the school, and the first extension was built in 1844 on three floors. Ten years later the foundation stone for the Chapel was laid. A large school building was completed in 1862 which lasted until 1928 when an extension was added. In 1963 with the aid of a Government Grant a new primary school was built. In 1965 a new secondary block was opened. In 1992 the Society of the Sacred Heart celebrated one hundred and fifty years in Roscrea. In 1999 the three second level schools in Roscrea, the Sacred Heart Convent Secondary School, Roscrea CBS and Roscrea Vocational School all amalgamated to form a new co-educational community college, Coláiste Phobal Ros Cré. So ended 167 years of the Society of the Sacred Heart in Roscrea.
  • 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 Society of the Sacred Heart, Roscrea, Tipperary, 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 at Roscrea from 1823 to 1964. Included are financial and administrative records, school journals and student registers of the national school and boarding school. There are records relating to Roscrea during the famine. In addition, there are photographs, property records and documents detailing the closure of the school.
    The collection contains a wealth of information regarding religious sisters, Catholic education, women’s history and local history.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    All items retained permanently
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows:
    A. Roscrea and area, c. 1823-c. late 20th century
    B. RSCJ, community and convent records, 1842-c. late 20th century
    C. Schools
    I. Boarding school and later secondary school, 1842-1964
    II. National school / primary school, 1856-1964
    III. Past pupils, 1914-1964
    IV. Higher top / day secondary / intermediate schools, 1914-1952
    V. Varied schools, 1951-1964
    VI. Closure of secondary school, 1974-2000
    D. Hierarchy, clergy and other religious congregations, 1842-1964
    E. Property and finance, 1851-1964
    F. Images, 1860-late 20th century
    G. History and early development, 1872-c. 20th century
    H. Relics and Clients of Saint Madeleine Sophie, c. 19th-20th centuries
    I. Retreats, 1931-1961
    J. Anniversaries
    I. Centenary celebrations, 1941-1961
    II. Quincentennial celebrations, 1991-1992
    K. Chapters and Assemblies, 1970-1971
    L. Roscrea Abbeyside 1999 – 2009

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 Medium63 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, Armagh, Craiglockhart, Harcourt Street-Lesson Street, Kilgraston, Monkstown, Mount Anville

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