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.

barbara gallery1

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 ----------