(Under the Patronage of Our Lady Health of the Sick)

The foundation of the Guild coincided with the foundation of the Irish State in 1922. Simultaneously the organ of the Guild — The Irish Nursing News — was published and has since continued in print albeit less frequently than in former days.

The aims of the Irish Guild of Catholic Nurses, as it was known, from its inception were:

  • to unite Catholic nurses in their spiritual activities
  • to promote fratemal charity between all branches of the profession and to stimulate initiative and ambition
  • to achieve leadership in their profession for the common good.

At the inaugural meeting the assembled nurses unanimously agreed rules but it was not until 1938 that the first formal constitutional document was prepared. Branches of the Guild were established in almost all dioceses throughout the country with the approval of the local bishops. Chaplains were appointed as spiritual directors.

The constitution has been reviewed and revised four times since 1938 — in 1962, 1977, 1995 and most recently in 2010 to take into account the many changes taking place in the nursing profession. While these changes in the practice of nursing are welcomed in most cases, the Catholic Nurses Guild of Ireland continues to play an active role in relation to the Church's teaching on ethical issues affecting nursing, in addition to social, charitable and spiritual activities.

Membership of the Guild is open to all nurses and such other healthcare workers as the association may from time to time decide at its Annual General Meeting. There have been considerable fluctuations in membership from year to year especially since the early 1980s when it was at its highest with a dramatic decline over the past ten years.

Though drastically reduced in membership the Catholic Nurses Guild of Ireland continues in its efforts in addressing social, ethical and educational issues through lectures, seminars and discussions at local and national levels. These events are open to all nurses irrespective of membership and are generally well supported.

Fundraising for various charities is a constant feature. Organising and participating in major religious and social events such as retreats, pilgrimages to Knock Shrine, Lourdes and Fatima are annual events. Our social committee has become very active in recent years arranging, for example visits to historical sites, art breaks, Winter and Summer visits to places of interest at home and abroad. These programmes have encouraged a number of nurses to become members of the Guild particularly those who have retired and are anxious to keep in touch with colleagues and of course make new friends.

Following the formation of CICIAMS at Lourdes in 1933 the Catholic Nurses Guild of Ireland supported its growth and development throughout the years. Members became regular participants at various regional and world congresses. For the past 25 years or more there have been Irish representatives on the Executive Board of CICIAMS with one of our members — Kathleen Keane — elected to the highest office of International President in 1982.

The Catholic Nurses Guild of Ireland is committed to CICIAMS and sees the need for the European Region to become more relevant to its member associations.