Just one year before the Sisters of Mercy came to Callan, Fr. John Walsh, C.C., acting on the advice of the Bishop, opened a school for girls in a building attached to Callan Lodge (which was then the Curates residence). This school was to provide Catholic Education for the girls and infants who had been removed by their parents from the existing female schools under the management of the then Parish Priest, Fr. Robert O'Keeffe, who was at this time in open conflict with his ecclesiastical superiors. On the retirement of the Principal at the end of 1872 Fr. Walsh asked the Sisters to take charge of this poor school. So on January 1st 1873, just six weeks after their arrival in Callan the Sisters undertook the education of Callan infants and girls, a work which they continue to do 126 years later. The Callan Lodge Poor School progressed rapidly and by 1877 the numbers enrolled had risen from 180 (in 1871) to 370.