The Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan will be in Carrigallen next week to visit the birthplace of Margaret of New Orleans, a woman whose charitable works have led to a campaign for her beatification.
The Arts Minister will visit the birthplace of Margaret Haughrey (nee Gaffney) in Tully, Carrigallen on Friday June 20 where he will meet members of the local committee who have worked extensively in recent years to highlight Margaret’s Carrigallen heritage.
The committee erected a lectern just two weeks ago at Margaret’s home place which details her links to the area. It is all part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the fact that Margaret Gaffney was born in Tully in 1813.
“The lectern was erected for the passer-by who might not know anything about Margaret or her life,” explained Helen Corcoran, committee secretary. “It explains her history and what she was all about.”
Margaret Gaffney emigrated to the US with her parents in 1818. She had a tragic early life, losing both her parents to yellow fever. By the age of 23, she also had lost her husband and daughter. However she went on to become one of the most famous women in New Orleans. Her charitable works led her to devote her life to providing for children and orphans in the city.
An extraordinary figure, she used her business acumen to provide funds for orphanages she set up throughout her life. Through her bakery, known as Margaret’s Bakery, she provided employment as well as cheap bread to her orphanages. She also fed the poor and the destitute.
Not surprisingly, she was a revered figure in New Orleans and upon her death, she received a state funeral.
Now a campaign is underway in New Orleans to have Margaret beatified and there are high hopes in Carrigallen that this will come to pass. The Vatican dictates that any campaign for beatification must be driven in the area where the person carried out their good works and a number of groups in New Orleans have taken an interest in this cause.
Back home in Carrigallen, local people are in the process of setting up a beatification committee to assist the efforts in New Orleans in any way.
The Carrigallen committee continues Margaret’s good works by hosting events that raise money for local charities. They have carrie d out extensive works on Margaret’s home including directional signs and lights. Works were done with grant aid from Leitrim Development Company.
Next week, the Arts Minister will be the latest person invited to walk in Margaret’s footsteps in her native Carrigallen.
Find out more on www.margaretsbirthplace.com.