In this week’s blog, Fr Paddy speaks of a recent experience in St Luke’s Hospital Kilkenny.


I WAS greatly inspired recently by the humble gentleness of a nurse in St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny.   I had spent time with a weary and tormented mother who had not slept for at least 48 hours.  She was literally exhausted and greatly  troubled because her beautiful son was seriously ill.   As she kept vigil by his fragile body, her total focus and energy were directed towards this young man, whom she wanted so desperately to recover and live.   Silently, I noticed a young nurse enter the room. She was carrying a footstool, and she placed it under the mother’s feet. Without speaking, she loudly affirmed the fantastic gift of compassion and love.   Actions speak louder than words. St Francis of Assisi once said: “Live the Gospel; only preach it when necessary.”

Every day, when we reflect on the good people who surround us, we too can marvel and be inspired by the constant examples of generosity and love.   I was enthused over the past few weeks by being involved with the young students and staff of Presentation De La Salle College, Bagenalstown, with their wonderful Variety Show.   The students’ young spirit of life and energy was witnessed by over 1,300 people who attended four live performances and their common mantra was “They are truly fantastic”.

I believe the greatest hunger in society at this time is for Good News.   Good news, not superficial in its context, but grounded, real and valuable.  We are all challenged to be signposts of the Good News, affirming the actions that bring hope and encouragement to so many. Be inspired by our gifted, enthusiastic and wonderful young people, whose optimism encourages us to look forward with hope.   Marvel at the constant generosity and selflessness of good parents who give so much in difficult times as they attend to the needs of their children.

When we pass by our secondary or primary schools, be confident that within their walls lies a rich harvest of greatness that is celebrated in every moment of its school day.   I believe that this is the time to become radiators, not drainers.   Radiators are warm and comforting; drainers are negative and take our energy from us.   I was inspired by the nurse in St Luke’s and her footstool.   My sense is that she was contented and fulfilled in her employment. Her calm and confidence brought with it generosity and compassion.

May the loud actions of goodness we encounter every day continue to inspire us all. So often bad news travels fast.   Gossip and idle talk drain away from the positive reservoir of life abundant around us.   The next time we hear idle gossip, may we have the courage to become radiators of the Good News.

I am more and more convinced that with the right spirit and attitude, we can achieve great things.   Fear and negativity hold us back.   Gentleness and encouragement bring us to a place of fulfilment and peace.

Spirit of God, loving and free, Spirit of God, flow through me.