In this week’s blog Fr Paddy writes about Hope, The Poor Clare Sisters and commends people who dispite all obstacles find the strength to achieve their goals.

Fr. Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist papers.
This column appeared in the edition published Sept 15 2010.

Two recent events, gave me great hope. A Parish pilgrimage to climb Croagh Patrick and listening to the Poor Clare’s, speaking on the Pat Kenny, radio programme. The Holy Spirit is a powerful everyday presence, in the midst of the ordinary day to day routines of life. I participated in a parish pilgrimage where over One Hundred people travelled to climb Croagh Patrick. Busses for the journey left at 5am in the morning. A group of young men, arrived on the bus, having left a party two hours previous!! We celebrated Mass on the mountain top, filled with joy and appreciative for the gift of our health and faith. Heroes on the mountain top included the wonderful Hester Curran, Ballywilliamroe who climbed the mountain with inspirational determination. Hester recently celebrated her 80th birthday. Her enthusiasm and good humour brought great hope to us all. George Darcy, Principal of the Queen of the Universe N.S., Bagenalstown who 4 weeks previous had his appendix removed and Richard Hickey, Pairc Mhuire, Bagenalstown who reached the top of the mountain with his new knee!!!  This holy mountain is a sacred and special place. In a time of mountain climbing in all our lives this real mountain embraces our struggles and offers solidarity and empathy to the crosses we all at times have to carry.  Our Hope is so very important. This spiritual day mixed with friendship and laughter nourished and uplifted so many good people who everyday have mountains to climb.

Last Tuesday morning I was captivated by an excellent interview given by the Poor Clare Sisters, Graiguecullen. The interview was given in an effort to promote vocations to their way of life. A weekend, at the end of September, welcomes women to taste the real spiritual fruits that are contained in their monastery. The Poor Clare’s are the face of Christ for so many people in this County and well beyond. There compassionate listening and prayerful encouragement offers a real uplift, to people whose burden is often very difficult to carry.

My late mother Margaret, was a great friend of the Poor Clare’s. At key moments of our lives, we would often visit the Sisters. A visit, we always enjoyed not just because we would receive religious medals and scapulars, but because they always gave us a bar of chocolate! The Sisters, in a time of uncertainty and burden, felt in the hearts of so many; offer tremendous hope and prayerful solidarity. They never say no to God. Their Eucharistic Adoration is a prayer of worship for all of us and our needs.

Their Monastery, simple and yet deeply prophetic, is a powerhouse of hope; by the banks of the river barrow. We, all in this county, are very appreciative of their tireless faith filled generous mission and pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send new labours to this wonderful Monastery. Their life of poverty and simplicity brings with it a solidarity and radical embrace to those who are burdened by debt and unemployment. It is in the midst of the ordinary, where we are often surprised to encounter God’s presence. Don’t be afraid to unburden and write or call to visit these good Sisters, to witness the face of Christ.