From the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday, to our visit to Our Lady of Knock where the imagery of Christ as the Sacrificial Lamb of God is displayed, our trip here has been truly blessed by visits to holy sites, like the Cathedral in Galway, to country churches in the mountains, the Sacred Heart Chapel, which we call the Jewel of Ireland, because of the scenic views surrounding it and beautiful stonework. Our God is present here and rose from the dead to make real to us that He is always with us!
Our drive up to our cottage includes an up close and personal encounter with the local sheep. This little lamb carried the cross of Christ right up to our window. A good sign that the Lord is blessing us.
We have been so busy meeting people and evangelizing in the beautiful country of Ireland that we are behind in our posts. Here is a summary of our last few days in pictures. Mother gave a Divine Mercy talk on Friday evening and many of the parishioners were touched by the message. We rode the ferry across to the island and took a picture of a potential future convent (Mount St. Rubble). Sr. Mary Francis spread the message of Divine Mercy to many of the local islanders.
Happy and Blessed St. Patrick's Day from Ireland. This is the celebration after Mass this morning. Today is a Holy Day of Obligation for all of Ireland in gratitude to St. Patrick for Evangelizing the People.
When you travel with Mother Wendy, life is an adventure. On Thursday we researched the McMenamin Family. We found several McMenamin’s buried in the old graveyard including a Mary McMenamin and a Fr. Peter McMenamin, whom we do believe we are related to. Terry O’Flannigan, who was in the cemetery attending to her parents’ tomb, told us to contact Jonathan Kelly, the local historian. He did phone and we are looking forward to meeting him to learn more about the history of the town the McMenamin’s are from.
We are also going from house to house saying hello to the local people. Sister Mary Francis is our best evangelizer and many people warm up to her beautiful smile. Patrick is one of our favorites. He is a farmer who tells us great stories and supplies us with fresh eggs. He lives in an original farmhouse with a thatched roof. He has sheep, cows, ducks, hens, dogs and a horse!
Mother Mary Wendy spoke to the children at St. Bridget's school today and at another school yesterday. She told the children all about Divine Mercy using the image given to St. Faustina in 1931. The children were glued to her every word and were so respectful and enthusiastic. Each child was given a holy card and was able to touch it to a first class relic of St. Faustina. One little boy said he was going to kiss the image of Jesus every night and every morning.
The children prayed an entire chaplet and promised to say a special prayer at the 3 o'clock hour. At the end of our visit, we prayed for the intentions of each child as they announced who they were most concerned for, many for family members, pets named Scooby and grandparents. The schools are small with grades mixed so that each classroom has a family feel. The older children look out for the younger children. What a blessing to see.
Today we took a long walk through the bog. Some here call it the moors and some the bog. It is beautiful, rugged terrain with heather and heath like one might remember from “Wuthering Heights”. The heather is beginning to bloom now that spring is on its way. We tried to keep to the trails as we were warned by the locals that there are bog holes filled with “quick sand” that will sink a sister up to her waist. We listened to the warning until we saw the ruins of an old cottage up the side of a mountain and promptly climbed a fence to see what it was all about. It was a large cottage built for hobbits as the door “header” was no more than 5 feet high. The stonework is lovely and the stones are everywhere in the bog popping up out of the peat and grass in random, majestic patterns. It is no wonder that some of the stone houses here are so beautiful. From the ruins (which we would love to restore), we hiked to the top of the hill to see the beautiful lake and the ocean at a distance.
Mary Kelly, our host, and James, her son, told us that families used to raise sheep and potatoes in this area and would walk barefoot for miles to see friends and family. And here we were in our Wellingtons and wool socks wondering how they could possibly walk barefoot anywhere (Wellingtons for those who do not know are knee-high rubber boots used while fishing and walking in bogs).
The sheep came close to us until we called to them and then they ran away since they did not know our voices. They are funny, curious creatures. The people are very kind, friendly and a bit shy but they smile when they see us and are glad to have nuns back in the parish.
As part of our missionary work here in Ireland, we are visiting people in their homes. Among one of our visits today, we were blessed to come across a lovely faith-filled woman (not Catholic) that expressed interest in coming to the Catholic Church if we stopped by to get her before mass. You never know where a small invitation will lead! Please remember us in your prayers as we try to walk with Jesus, the Shepherd of souls and to be the welcoming presence of Mary, mother of the Church. There are also a lot of actual sheep here in Ireland and it is a lot of fun to watch them grazing around the hillsides.
SISTERS OF REPARATION
"Whatsoever you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that you shall receive of the Lord the reward of inheritance. Serve ye the Lord Christ" Colossians 3:23-24.