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Hanora (Nora) Chambers

Date of Birth: 

Hanora Chambers was born in Clonfineen, Cooraclare, Co. Clare approx. 1883.   She was the daughter of Timothy and Catherine Chambers and her siblings were Thomas, Sinon, Mary, Margaret, Matty and Paddy.

Paddy Chambers went to Sydney and did not marry.  Sinon Chambers born approx 1874 left for possibly Australia or South Africa.

She travelled to the Lancashire area of England and married a school teacher James Patrick Cox from Rooskey, Co. Roscommon and they lived in Royton, Lancashire.

It is likely that Hanora was following in the tradition of many Cooraclare people who had gone to the Manchester area.

Her aunt, also Hanora Chambers had been Superior General of the Cross & Passion Sisters at the young age of 29.

The story of the Clare Connection with the Bolton/Manchester area began on a spring day in seaside town of Kilkee in 1860.  The parish priest, Father Timothy Breen, had a guest, a journeying Passsionist, Father Ignatius Spenser.  He was the youngest son of an English peer who had twice been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and had supported Daniel O'Connell in the British Parliament in his fight for Catholic Emancipation.  He gave all of his possessions to the poor and became a Catholic.  While he was in Kilkee, a niece of Father Breen's, Hanora Chambers was visiting and she confided that she wanted to become a nun.  He explained that he was director of a small group of women in Salford who taught the poor and ministered to them in other practical ways.  Many were poor Irish - survivors of the famine.  he made it quite clear that they lived in indescribable poverty in a squalid factory town.  Hanora disregarded this and begged him to visit her parents.  He walked all the way to Cooraclare and Hanora joined the group - later becoming Mother Mary Margaret Chambers.  Many of her relatives and neighbours followed her and joined the order too.  She was elected Superior General at the age of 29 and the order grew under her direction.

Fr Ignatius Spenser was the Great, Great, Great Granduncle of Princess Diana of Wales