140 Years of GFS in Ireland

GFS celebrates 140 years in Ireland

Branches and Dioceses mark the occasion in various ways and it will be nice to accumulate information on these festivities in time.

At All-Ireland level a Service of Celebration was held in Christ Church, Bray, Co Wicklow on 21st May; Bray being the place where GFS laid its roots in 1877. The Service was compiled and conducted by our Central Chaplain Rev’d Tanya Woods, assisted by Rev’d Martin O’Kelly, Curate of Christ Church. Rev’d Janice Aiton, our former Chaplain, was the special Preacher. She spoke about good and bad decisions and with props made her topic very real for youngsters and indeed for older folk.

The Banner procession was a sight to beholden. Bray Banner carried by Ann Mulligan, led all the banners. Bray branch has been closed for some time and Ann organized this piece of history. Emila Corrigan, well known to us all carried the All-Ireland Banner, followed by ladies with their Diocesan Banners. These were displayed within the Chancel.  The branch Banners completed the procession and were arrayed elsewhere in the church.

During the Service Rev’d Tanya commissioned Tamara McKenzie as Junior Delegate to the 2017 World Council in Australia and me as Senior Delegate. Girls and Leaders led the congregation in prayer, read the Lessons, lifted the collection and helped with other duties. Music was by Belturbet Praise Band, the hymns were lively and the service was uplifting. Archbishop Michael Jackson spoke encouragingly about the mission of GFS and wished the Society God’s blessing. I as Central President gave a short appreciation. Refreshments followed the service. It was lovely to speak with Guests, Clergy, Members, Past Officers and Friends.  

Each member is being given a Celebration Card to have as a ‘keep-sake’ for time to come.

The theme for this wonderful occasion was “Yesterday, Today and Forever”. We have had 140 fruitful years of “Yesterday” and with God’s help “Today and Forever” will be equally fruitful.

My message to Members: “Appreciate our inheritance

                                                     Remain focused in our Ministry

                                                     Pray that we may lead together

                                                     By Friendship, Respect and Faith”

The story of GFS in Ireland officially began on 22nd February 1877 when Viscountess Powerscourt, Viscountess Monck, Mrs La Touche, Rev’d J.A. Cross (Secretary) and Rev’d J.G. Scott, Rector met in the Royal Marine Hotel, Bray. Seventeen Working Associates were appointed with five more Associates added at a later date. GFS here soon became a respected Society, greatly supported by Bishops and Clergy, with families appreciating the fact that GFS was a guiding factor in the lives of females of all ages. The first Central President was the Countess of Meath from Killruddery Estate, Bray. We must be forever grateful to the Countess and the people involved at the time for investing so much time, energy and indeed finance to get the Society up and running.            Sylvia Quinn.


    Some of the Leaders with their Banners


Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh Branch Banners


Girls from Abbeyleix & Killermogh Branch


Armagh Diocese


Bishop Ferran Glenfield, Sylvia Quinn, Rev Tanya Woods – All Ireland Chaplain and Violet Morton – Diocesan President Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh Diocese



Sylvia Quinn – All Ireland President, Tamara McKenzie – Junior Delegate,  Jennifer Norris –  Diocesan President Armagh Diocese and  Irene Walker, Armagh Diocese




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