Section title text:  Recent News.

FCJs present at reception for the President of Ireland,
at the opening of Ireland Park, Toronto, Canada, June 20, 2007

In 1844 the population of Ireland was eight million people. The following year a plight devastated the potato crop, and over the next five years famine reduced the population by half. The million or so who fled the country to North America were surpassed only by the millions who starved to death.

What is little known to Canadians today is that from May to October in the year 1848, 38,560 Irish people travelled down the St Lawrence River from Montreal, where they first landed, to disembark on the wharfs in Toronto . The 20,000 Toronto residents who witnessed this were overwhelmed, but made efforts to assist the sick and dying. Thousands however did die; many right as they set foot on this new land.

To make this historic tragedy known to all, and to celebrate the culture of acceptance of immigrants to Canada and Toronto, Robert and Jonathan Kearns (Robert is a businessman and Jonathan is an architect who designed the Park, both of whom are Irish born Canadians) started a foundation to raise the funds necessary to build a memorial to those who died. They secured a site by the lake at the foot of Bathurst Street, and on the 21st of June a new memorial officially opened.

Called Ireland Park, it features a series of four bronze statues by Irish artist Rowan Gillespie. The names of all those who died during those months are enshrined on the walls of the park.

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, honoured the opening with her presence and was the guest speaker. A Luncheon was held in her honour on June 20th at the Royal York Hotel.

Mary and Marcella Bresnihan were given tickets to the welcoming event for the President.  When the President entered the reception hall, both Mary and Marcella were well towards the front of the reception line, courtesy of the Irish ambassador.  When they shook hands with President McAleese, Mary mentioned that they were FCJs.  The president's reply was: "I am delighted to meet you. I am very aware of your community in Ireland ."

Breda and Helen Bresnihan visit Ireland Park.
In the picture are from L-R:
Marcella Bresnihan fcJ, the Ambassdor's wife,
Mary Bresnihan fcJ, the Irish Ambassador,
Father Pat O'Dea and Terry scj

Breda Bresnihan, fcJ and Helen Bresnihan, fcJ
standing by two of the bronzes in Ireland Park

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Ang among Kapunungan naningkamot diha
     sa pagdayeg sa kasing-kasing ni Hesus
           inubanan sa Iyang panabang    (Marie Madeleine)