Roscrea Cemetery Visit


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30th June 2018  was a gloriously sunny day as rscj from Dublin joined former colleagues, pupils and parishioners in Roscrea for a memorial service to honor the deceased members of the Society of the Sacred Heart who are buried in the community cemetery there. 

In the opening reflection they acknowledged that they had come together to celebrate the dignity and status that those interred in the cemetery were given though Baptism. Those present were reminded that all have been given the same dignity and status consequently we are called to live our lives in union and in imitation of Christ to improve the world in which we live.

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The photos in the gallery give you some sense of the joyful and appreciative memorial service.

Following the service all were taken on a tour of the new Sacred Heart School at the end of which there was refreshments for all present.  The photos of the school also give you a sense of the happy event.   

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Visit General Council to Ireland and Scotland


Visit of the General Council to Ireland and Scotland

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Central Team with Provincial Leadership Group 

May 25 was celebrated together with rscj in Dublin. Following Mass there was a general meeting, lunch and a second plenary session until it was time to go to a community for two hours during which there was a meal.

This pattern of time and a meal with the different communities was a feature of the visit.

May 26 - Nine different groups with whom rscj work and link did presentations. By then Boda and Marie Jeanne had left for Edinburgh. In the afternoon, Barb and Isabelle travelled to Armagh and from there went to Edinburgh for the regional day on 27 May.

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 RSCJ in Scotland with the members of the General Council on Sunday 27 May

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Boda and Marie Jeanne In Bonnyrigg with Catherine, Monica, Rose,
and Jeanette McGlone (Helper of the Holy Souls).

On their return they visited rscj in Cedar House and had meetings with some of the staff, directors and members of the Cedar House Board.

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General Council and Province Leadership Group IRS

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Barb & Isabelle visit Sheila & Madeleine


RSCJ in Migrant Education

Women Religious in Migrant Education



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An rscj in Haiti writes 

Maria….+ 118 ….as if it had been yesterday….

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Cantera is one of the barrios on the fringes of Santurce, where we live.
Way back in the ‘70s some of our sisters started a Center that offers a variety of services, especially to the elderly and the very young.
I volunteered for four years to work with pre-K children.

During the last two weeks I have visited Cantera several times
with the one sisters who still works at the Center.
What did we find, whom did we meet?

Antonia, who lives with her two handicapped children. One of them is blind. Their house was flooded and of course, mattresses were drenched, clothes soaked… At the moment her biggest problem is that, with no electricity, she can barely do all the wash that is needed. But, no complaints. She only asked for adult pampers, but it may be possible to give them new mattresses as well.

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Sonia and her handicapped daughter Naomi, who only have one bed for the  two of them,  and who live in a house where the ceiling leaks everywhere.

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They get wet when it rains.



Joanna is rebuilding the top floor of her house, cement brick by cement brick, with the money she and her husband earn by selling lunches and sodas.

Esperanza, whose son died two days before Christmas due to a lung condition.
With no electricity, no oxygen…not even a fan.
His is one of the Maria-related deaths the government refuses to acknowledge. Needless to say, Esperanza is very depressed.
She asked for paint to cheer up the house, but the request is not so simple to fulfill as the house has to be cleaned first with a pressure hose and there is no electricity.

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One of my classmates had received some money from her cousin’s CCD class in North Carolina. She gave some of it to Esperanza, and Pura, the RSCJ who works in the Center, took her to Kmart. Esperanza bought a pair of shoes, a blouse and jeans, underwear …but set some money aside to give to her neighbor who has hooked her up to her generator so that she can have some light at night.  I was deeply moved by this gesture.

Melissa works but has not been paid for months. She lost everything in her house, and is living with her son at her mother’s. A person who is emptying her late aunt’s apartment will bring her everything useful.

Inés and her husband Jorge lived in a house perched on a strip of land on the very edge of Cantera. Now they live among debris. They are, literally, squatters, so no agency can help them.  When Maria struck, Inés was blown out of the house, into the street.

Jorge has tried to shore up the walls with some plywood and put up a roof with the iron sheets he bought with the $200 they were given by FEMA. They live in the one room that offers some shelter, but they get wet when it rains.

Again, just facts. No recriminations or complaints. Pura had told them that we would come to visit them. So they bought a bag of ice and had cold water for us. I wept as I accepted it.

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Why am I showing you all of this?
I am afraid that too much is being said about the hopeless situation that is Puerto Rico.
I just want you to see a bit of the courage, determination, and yes, deep suffering.
But the main reason is that to tell you, once more, that I am in a privileged situation “to learn from others the way of the Beatitudes", as  Chapter 1970 stated so well.

The Orchard Kilgraston Closing Mass




At the close of Mass on that day Barbara concluded with a blessing from:“Circle of Grace” Jan Richardson

In the leaving,

in the letting go,

let there be this

to hold on to at the last:


the enduring of love,

the persisting of hope,

the remembering of joy,


the offering of gratitude,

the receiving of grace,

the blessing of peace. 


This is surely a tribute to all who have benefitted from the sacred space of Kilgraston and the dedication of rscj during the years of service to the faith life of those who spent time there.

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Mass was con-celebrated by Bishop Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld, Monsignor Henry, Monsignor Drysdale, and  Father McAinsh, Provincial of the Redemptorists


“As we gathered at the Orchard to pray on the moment of the closing of The Spirituality Centre I was filled with gratitude and sadness that manifested itself in tears.  Gratitude for so much: provision of a space, for many to take time, to see where God was in our lives; gratitude for the perseverance of Barbara Farquharson in providing the place and the space along with the accompaniment over many years.  And yes Barbara had been joined by a few others who also contributed greatly to the ministry but the initiative and the commitment to keep it going is something  for which to be very grateful  as also for the financial resources provided by the Society to enhance and create the physical space  on what already existed.  Tears of sadness, perhaps, at the speed with which the closure came and at the loss of such an abundant instrument of God's presence for so many over the years. Take Lord Receive.”

Christine Triay rscj

6th June 2017

About fifty guests arrived for the gathering to mark the closure of Garden Cottage Spirituality Centre on 6th June.   It was a miserable day outside the rain was relentless and there was a mist covering the hills, even so everything in the garden looked fresh, green and beautiful. 

 “Endings are a time of gratitude and savouring of gifts received, a time of sadness in letting go and parting, and a time of looking forward with hope and courage as each of us in our own way journeys onwards towards new frontiers.”     Carmel welcomed everybody with these words.  She went on to quote from Daniel Berrigan SJ “What’s giving you hope these days?”  She invited all present to reflect for a few minutes and then share with whoever was beside them, creating an energetic buzz in the room  There followed a reading from the second letter of Timothy:

“I remind you to fan into flame and keep ablaze the gift you have received, so that you may know the hope to which you have been called.   For yours is not a spirit of timidity and fear, but of power and love and mindfulness.” (2 Tim 1:6)

In this spirit of deep gratitude and rejoicing in our shared hope she handed over to Barbara Farquharson.

Barbara Farquharson, who had the initial dream, gave a brief history of Garden Cottage Spirituality Centre which opened in 1997 to receive retreatants and directees, remembering Maggie Adams and Clare Wardhaugh; The Orchard and Apple House opened in 2003; and a few years later the Bothy was developed as a community house for Carmel Byrne and Mary Roe.   Later Deirdre O’Brien was to come for a short while.  A special mention was given to Jim Woods, who was present.   He was the architect who made the dream come true.

“I think I can say that the Centre has been a place of beauty, healing, peace and nourishment for many. Together, the three buildings, the Cottage, the Orchard and the Apple House have formed a sacred space, a place for silence, prayer and for contemplating the experience of God in life.


The focal point of the Centre has been the holistic spiritual development of the individual and so we have offered a wide variety of courses, retreats and workshops.  Over the years too we have appreciated the presence of our guest presenters who added colour interest and diversity in so many ways, to the Orchard programme.


An aspect of our ministry which has particularly delighted me over the years has been the fact that so many people from different Christian churches, different religions and different backgrounds have felt very much at home and welcomed.  So much of what has been offered has been wonderfully appreciated by so many.  Indeed, Carmel and I have been overwhelmed by the number of cards and letters we have received recently, filled with sadness that the Centre is closing, but also full of gratitude for what has been given and received over the years.”


Edited from papers given by

Carmel Byrne rscj and Barbara Farquharson rscj



---------- More photos to be seen in the Gallery ----------


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