21 Jul 2019

21 July 2019 - Cistercian Sisters of St. Mary's Abbey, Glencairn, Co. Waterford (Part I)

On this week's programme, we are broadcasting a repeat of one of our popular programme's which was originally broadcast on July 21st 2013. We are replaying part one of a two part special programme on the Cistercian nuns of St Mary's Abbey, Glencairn Co Waterford. Lorraine had a discussion about the Cistercian life and what it means to be an enclosed nun in Ireland today with Sr Sarah Branigan (Vocation Directoress) and Sr Michelle Slattery (Novice Mistress).

You can listen to the podcast of the programme HERE.

The Abbey's website is HERE and Facebook page HERE.

St Mary's Abbey - Glencairn

(Most of!) The community gather in our new refectory wing of the Abbey for a photo by Dan Linehan (Irish Examiner) - Taken from the Abbey website (glencairnabbey.org)
St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn is the only Cistercian monastery for women in Ireland.  The monastery is located in the Blackwater Valley, about 3 miles upstream from Lismore, County Waterford.
"At the heart of the monastic life is the search for God; here at Glencairn, we seek God and follow Christ in a life of prayer and community, solitude and simplicity, work and hospitality. We follow the Rule of St Benedict, an ancient source of monastic wisdom that continues to guide many people in search of an authentic spiritual path in today’s world."
As the sisters outline the Cistercian Order arose as a reform movement within the Benedictine tradition in the 12th century who were seeking for a simpler way of life - a return to the deserts of the world to seek a space for God. 

The first Cistercian monastery was established in Citeaux, France in 1098 by Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen and Sr Sarah tells us of the history of the early foundations. Early in the Cistercian tradition, women sought the Cistercian way of life and the first Cistercian monastery for women was in Tart, France, a daughter house of Citeaux, founded by St Stephen in 1125. St Malachy brought the Cistercians to Ireland in 1142, to Mellifont, County Louth. St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn is the first Cistercian monastery for women in Ireland since the Reformation, founded in 1932 by Holy Cross Abbey, Stapehill, England. Today, there are 37 Cistercian nuns in the community of St Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn.

The life of the Cistercians is under pinned by a number of foundations including 
  • a zeal for the Opus Dei (the Work of God) which is the Liturgy of the Hours (a.k.a. the Divine Office) which is one of the focus' of St Benedict
  • the ethos of simplicity which defined Citeax with its emphasis on poverty, simplicity in liturgy, manual work and a guarded interaction with the secular world so as not to displace the main focus of their lives as being a constant search for God.
  • St Bernard and other writers of the Cistercian tradition have emphasised experiential quality of monastic life; effective spirituality stressing relationship with Christ; stressing fraternal communion and also a strong Marian devotion with the order and each abbey of the order under the patronage of Mary.

Sr Michelle takes us through the life of a novice as women discern whether they are called to the life of a cistercian nun with the community in Glencairn including what daily life is like, the study and prayer life undertaken. Sr Sarah then continues to share with is the meaning of the monastic vows stability, obedience and conversion of life as well as the day to day life at the abbey.

From the Abbey's website:

What is Cistercian Spirituality?

“Cistercian nuns seek God and follow Christ under a rule and an abbess in a stable community which is a school of mutual love”. These words, from the Constitutions of our Order, point to some key elements in our spirituality. 

Cistercian: “Cistercian” comes from the word Cîteaux, in Latin Cistercium, which means “marshy place” or “swampy place”. Cîteaux, in France, is where the Cistercian movement began in 1098, as a reform within the Benedictine monastic tradition.

Nuns and monks: there are both men and women Cistercians. We live in single-sex communities, but the two branches form one Order. There are Cistercian communities on all five continents: they follow the same lifestyle, adapted to local situations.

Seek God: the heart of monastic life is seeking God. From earliest times, some Christians have felt called to go apart to lead a life more intensely focused on God. They separated themselves from the distractions of regular society, and went away to a remote or isolated place more conducive to prayer and consciousness of God. There they devoted themselves to seeking God and union with God. The first people to practise this kind of lifestyle went literally into the desert, in Egypt. We follow in their footsteps, and so do not engage in any outside apostolate. The purpose of a Cistercian is to seek God.

Follow Christ: Cistercian life is a way of living the Gospel. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is fundamental in each sister’s heart. Christ is our model: we strive to be conformed to him in his obedience, humility, patience and poverty. He is our King, whom we try to serve. And he is our Beloved: we seek intimate union with him in prayer.

Under a Rule…: this means the Rule of St Benedict, as interpreted by Cistercian tradition and contemporary understanding. There are three key elements in the monastic day according to this Rule:

(1) Liturgy: Seven times a day we meet in the church to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours, consisting of psalms, Scripture readings, and prayers. By this we offer praise to God, we ourselves are sanctified, and we intercede for all people. We celebrate the Eucharist daily; it is the source of our communion with Jesus Christ and with one another.

(2) Lectio divina: quiet, meditative reading of the Word of God in Scripture, which leads to contemplative prayer and shapes us to live by the Gospel.

(3) Work: Through our work we support ourselves, and have something to share with the poor. In Glencairn we produce eucharist bread and greeting cards for sale, and we have a farm which is now mostly dedicated to tillage (barley) with some cattle. Other work includes care of the sick and guests, the upkeep of the monastery, administration and formation work, gardening, and many other tasks.
Living “under a Rule” means that our life is disciplined. The purpose of this discipline is to make us free: free from selfishness and unhealthy desires, free from things that do not help us on our journey to God; free to have hearts open to give and receive genuine love.

…and an abbess: the abbess is a central figure in the monastery. She is believed to act as Christ’s representative, and so ministers to the whole community with pastoral care, teaching the sisters by word and example, and encouraging them in their monastic vocation.

Community: Cistercians maintain a balance between solitude on the one hand, and community living on the other. Solitude and silence provide us with a climate for prayer and encounter with God. Community relationships are the place where love is put into action. Unity of spirit, sharing of goods, and bearing one another’s burdens are hallmarks of a Spirit-filled community.

Stability: we make a vow of stability, which means that we commit ourselves to live always in this particular community, and will not normally move to another one. Stability is the “for better, for worse” of monastic life. Our other vows are fidelity to monastic life, and obedience.

School of love: St Benedict called the monastery a “school of the Lord’s service.” The early Cistercians called it a “school of love”. On our spiritual journey we are always pupils. Learning to love with the heart and mind of Christ is an ongoing task, which will occupy us all the days of our life.


Some external Youtube videos on Glencairn.

An investigation by U.S. television producer Phil O'Connor into the decline of the Irish Church brought him, together with the Religion and Ethics team and camera crew to Ireland in late May of this year where they made a further television feature on contemporary monastic life as lived here at St Mary's Abbey.

Originally broadcast in the U.S. Sunday a.m. 24 July 2011 on PBS television on Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

An audio slideshow by Irish Times photographer Bryan O'Brien featuring images of Theresa Kottayail from Kerala, India as she took her first vows as a junior professed sister in the enclosed Cistercian community of nuns at St Mary's Abbey, Glencairn, Lismore, Co.Waterford, Ireland in December 2011. She took the name Sr Robert and was the first sister from India to complete her novitiate in the rural Irish Abbey.

Gospel - Luke 10:38-42

Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Reflections on this week's Gospel:

Word on Fire

English Dominicans 
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections 

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 4

Saints of the Week
July 22nd - St. Mary Magdalene
July 23rd - St. Bridget of Sweden
July 24th - St. John Boste
July 25th - St. James the Greater, Apostle
July 26th - St. Joachim and St. Anne
July 27th - St. Pantaleon

14 Jul 2019

14th July 2019 - Emmanuel School of Mission

On this week's programme we chat with Geraldine Creaton of the Emmanuel Community and Nina, Vianny and Maria who participated in the Emmanuel School of Mission. You can listen to the podcast of this week's full programme HERE.

Emmanuel Community
The Emmanuel Community is present in Ireland, and in fifty six countries around the world, and on every continent. The Emmanuel Community was founded in France in 1972 by the Servant of God Pierre Goursat and Martine Lafitte-Catta. The mission of the Community is to reveal to every man and woman the presence of the God of Love in our lives, Jesus Christ, who is “Emmanuel”, ”God With Us”, and wants to be close to us.

The Community consists of members with different states of life (families, singles, priests and celibate brothers and sisters) having the most different professions and trying to live a fraternal life in the world. It sees its aim as to respond to God's call to holiness addressed to each person, mainly through intense personal prayer, Eucharistic adoration, compassion for the spiritually and materially poor and evangelization. Members are helped to grow spiritually in various ways: "household meetings" (small groups of members, meeting regularly for prayer and reflection on God's action in their lives), "spiritual companionship" (personal meeting with a more experienced member), monthly meetings of all the members in a country or region.

Emmanuel School of Mission

Today John is joined by Geraldine Creaton from the Emmanuel Community as they chat with other members of the ‘Emmanuel School of Mission’ in California. The mission year is directed Fr Paul Glesson who introduces us to three participants attending the ESM this year – Nina, 26 years, from Australia, Vianny, 26 years, from France and Maria, 24 years, from Wexford. They share their faith journey with as their experience at the ESM for the last nine months. All three students bring back to their ordinary lives in main stream society the fruits and lessons they have experienced as they carry out the work of the Lord in their daily lives. Fundamental to this is prayer and a personal relationship with Jesus.

Further details regarding the Emmanuel Community and the School of Mission are available here: 
Emmanuel Ireland - http://www.emmanuelcommunity.ie/  

Emmanuel International - https://emmanuel.info/en

Emmanuel Rome (access ESM's from this site) - https://esm-rome.com/

ESM New York - https://www.esm-nyc.com/ 

ESM New York Newsletters - https://www.esm-nyc.com/news 

Gospel - Luke 10:25-37

A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal lie?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

Wanting to justify himself, the lawyer asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Reflections on this week's Gospel: 

Word on Fire

English Dominicans 
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections 

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 3

Saints of the Week
July 15th - St. Bonaventure
July 16th - Our Lady of Mount Carmel
July 17th - Carmelite Nuns of Compiegne
July 18th - St. Frederick
July 19th - St. Arsenius the Great
July 20th - St. Margaret of Antioch

7 Jul 2019

7th July 2019 - Martina O'Sullivan - Children's Faith Camp and Children's Faith Resources

On this week's programme we chat with Martina O'Sullivan about her upcoming Faith camp in Abbeyfeale for children aged 5-12. Martina also tells us about two other resources: Camp Veritas and Children's Adoration. We also have our usual reflection on the Sunday Gospel.

You can listen to the podcast of this week's full programme HERE.

Children's Faith Camps
This week Martina O'Sullivan shared with us resources available for helping to develop children's faith experience. Martina has arranged a Faith Camp for children 5-12 years from Monday 29 July to Thursday 1 August in Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick:

'The Faith Camps are a wonderful way to witness to the joy of the Faith that makes it seem attractive to both the children and the young leaders. All of what is undertaken, from art, sport, games, lessons to group-work, is all aimed towards a particular end: encouraging them to form a personal relationship with Jesus.'

St. Ita’s Faith Camp

St. Ita's Faith Camp will take place from Monday, July 29th to Thursday, August 1st in St. Mary's Boys School, Abbeyfeale. Activities include sport, art, drama, music, faith lessons and Mass. It takes place from 10.00am to 3.00pm each day and the cost is €40 for the first child and €25 per sibling. Advance registration is essential

For further information contact Martina at 087-2788834 or email:  abbeyfealefaithcamp@gmail.com

Martina also tells us about Camp Veritas for Children 12-18 years which was held recently in Clongowes Wood College, Co. Kildare. This was a week long 'play and pray' pilrimage and summer camp for teens attending secondary school. You can read more about it HERE and HERE.

Martina also reminded us of Children's Adoration resources which you can read more about HERE

You can listen to a podcast of this reflection excerpted from the programme HERE.

Gospel - Luke 10:1-12,17-20

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road.

‘Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house.

‘Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you. Cure those in it who are sick, and say, “The kingdom of God is very near to you.” But whenever you enter a town and they do not make you welcome, go out into its streets and say, “We wipe off the very dust of your town that clings to our feet, and leave it with you. Yet be sure of this: the kingdom of God is very near.” I tell you, on that day it will not go as hard with Sodom as with that town.’

The seventy-two came back rejoicing. ‘Lord,’ they said ‘even the devils submit to us when we use your name.’ He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Yes, I have given you power to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and the whole strength of the enemy; nothing shall ever hurt you. Yet do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.’
Reflections on this week's Gospel: 

Word on Fire

English Dominicans 
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections 

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 2

Saints of the Week
July 8th - St. Killian, Bishop and Martyr
July 9th - St. Augustine Zhao Rong and his Companions, Martyrs
July 10th - Bl. Emmanuel Ruiz
July 11th - St. Benedict, Abbot and Patron of Europe
July 12th - St. John Gaulbert, Abbot 
July 13th - St. Henry