Saturday, 27 March 2010

Ha wo!

Here's a picture of our little baby. The consultant says all's well, thank God. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Getting ready to go into the maternity hospital for our 20 week scan. Have been feeling rotten all week with a grumpy tummy bug that has really outstayed its (non-existent) welcome! Please say a prayer that all goes well with the scan if you get a chance, my friends.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

daphne bholua jacqueline postill ...phew

Bit of a mouthful, but Toby on Gardener's World recommended it last night and it sounds lovely: a fragrant, semi-evergreen shrub that is in flower now, pricey though. Here's a picture from the BBC website. One of the things I am planting in my imaginary garden-in-my-head, until we have one of our own, please God.

The fabulous Alys was talking about hellebores, which will have to find a little shady well-composted spot there too. One is the beautiful pure white Christmas rose and another the more seasonally -appropriate Lenten Rose, Helleborus orientalis.

Here are some pictures of the delightful little lovelies.

Friday, 19 March 2010

St Joseph's Day

Today is the feast of St Joseph. One of the reasons people ask for his intercession, at least in this country, is to help sell or buy houses. Some people bury a statue in the garden of the house in question, but that strikes me as superstitious. I am praying for his intercession though, that someone will buy our lovely house in Ballymacarbry. Its price is very negotiable: I must get on to the auctioneer to reduce it.

Meanwhile, back in this house, the boys continue to get more grown-up. Poonch has been properly walking for about 2 weeks now. As Lee pointed out, his knees don't bend as he ploughs headlong on his way. He's like the penguin in Wallace & Gromit's The Wrong Trousers, but without the sinister connotations. Roo's language has really expanded lately too and we have great conversations together. He has started getting curious about what things are made of or what they might eat. Hence the title of yesterday's post.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Hope you all have a great day. It's a bright hopeful one here in Limerick.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

I think we might have to call the baby 'Mary'

... if it's a girl that is. I have been meaning to post for ages about what happened a couple of Sundays ago.
First it was a beautiful clear, sunny day. The best kind of day in my opinion. Then instead of going to Mass in the usual place, we found ourselves at 5 o'clock in the friendly and welcoming Deebert House Hotel in Kilmallock. It was the culmination of a mysterious retreat that a friend of Liam's kindly told us about the night before. I say 'mysterious' because it was all a bit vague. We didn't know what the retreat was for, and then Lee said, 'oh yeah he said something about Padre Pio's mitt.' And I was sure the place would be mobbed with people.
So, off we went to Kilmallock where we were ushered into a warm conference room full of people. In spite of well-meaning offers of seats at the front, we stayed at the back where we felt safer with the two lads, in case they got restless. Mass was said by the newly ordained Fr Paul Cahill along with Fr Paul Maria Sigl and another priest whose name I missed. Mum was there too, although she hadn't mentioned she was going.
It turned out the retreat was about Our Lady of All Nations, who I was slightly familiar with, as I have her prayer (see below) next to the fridge. Not sure where it came from: probably Mum.
After Mass, Fr Sigl, who's Austrian, consecrated everyone to Mary, although it was hard to concentrate on the words while keeping the boys quiet. Mind you, they had been really good for the last hour and a half, longer than we normally spend in church. Frs Sigl and Cahill were really warm and lovely, full of the Holy Spirit. They both blessed my bump and we were all very privileged to be blessed with Padre Pio's mitten: Fr Sigl even gave the little brown woolen relic to me to hold and bless the Babycake with, 'under my heart'.
The whole experience made me realise I have somewhat neglected Mary lately. So I moved my little altar to the windowsill near the sink, where, like all housewives, I spend a lot of time. Now I think of our Lady more often and say the powerful prayer whenever I think of it.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the Father,
send now your Spirit over the earth.
Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations,
that they may be preserved
from degeneration, disaster and war.
May the Lady of All Nations,
who once was Mary,
be our Advocate.

And why am I thinking of calling the baby Mary, (or Maria, or Máire)? Because of all the Marian connections. My due date is the Feast of the Assumption and my 20 week scan is the day after the Annunciation.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Little hare, early riser

Just opened the curtains to a cold morning with the promise of another sunny day in the sky. Who should I spot only my favourite wild furry, the first one all year. The little hare (actually quite a big one) hopped up this track and stopped for a while until I opened the window to get a closer look. So maybe getting woken so early has some blessings after all.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Blessed William Tirry, Irish Martyr, 1608-1654

I promised I would tell you more about Fr William Tirry. So here is a little more info about his life. Thanks to Lee for most of it.

A martyred priest's message for the present age

The harsh conditions in which William Tirry spent his last days, imprisoned in a squalid gaol cell, were a far cry from the comfortable surroundings he could have enjoyed had he chosen a different path in life.

In 1608, he was born into the privileged home of a well-connected family in Cork City. He grew up here, studious and reserved, with his sister and two brothers. His uncle and namesake would be Bishop of Cork and Cloyne in later years.

Following his secondary education, at the age of 18 as far as we know, he was received as a postulant at the Cork Augustinian 'Red Abbey'. In so doing, he left behind a life where wealth and influence were assured, for one where sacrifice and devotion were assumed.

He continued his studies in Valladolid, Spain where he was ordained as a priest in 1634. Further study brought him to Paris and Brussels, before returning to Cork in 1638. He acted as secretary to his uncle the Bishop for a few months before working as chaplain and tutor for his extended family.

He returned to the community of Holy Trinity Abbey in 1642. The following year he was appointed to the Friary in Fethard and became prior in 1646. Here he would spend the last eleven years of his life and is believed to rest to this day.

This was a time of huge unrest in Ireland with widespread persecution of Roman Catholics. The arrival of Cromwell in Ireland prevented William taking up a new appointment as prior of Skreen, Co. Meath in 1649. The walled town of Fethard was taken by Cromwell in 1650. The Church and Friary were desecrated. In spite of the dangers, William remained to serve the people of Fethard, going into hiding in and around the town with the help of people such as Mrs Amy Everard. A law enacted in 1653 decreed that any priest found on Irish soil was guilty of treason and as a result many priests fled to the continent. William, however, bravely continued to work with secrecy and caution until his betrayal.

On Holy Saturday 1654, while preparing for Mass in Mrs Everard's house, Fr William Tirry was arrested by Cromwellian soldiers. In the room were found some of his writings: including a comprehensive profession of his Catholic faith. He was taken to Clonmel gaol. His mock trial took place 10 days later on May 6th with his execution following on May 12th. In their accounts of his last days, his fellow prisoners, priests and religious amongst them, spoke with huge admiration for his courage and sanctity.

He is quoted as saying, in Irish, on the eve of his execution,

"God Almighty be thanked, who chose me to this happy ending."

His last pulpit was to be the steps of the gallows, where he forgave his betrayers and preached on the importance of the Ten Commandments to the large crowds, Catholic and Protestant alike, who had gathered there. His powerful, moving speech was perhaps a long way from the reserved young man who had entered the Augustinian Abbey as a postulant, 28 years previously.

Permission was granted to the people of Fethard to bring back the body of their martyred priest for burial in the ruined Friary buildings. Blessed William was laid to rest then, somewhere within the century-defying church now known to locals simply as 'The Abbey'.

Fr William Tirry was beatified by Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square, Rome on September 27th 1992.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Cherry buns for tea

Inspired by Saturday's little beauties, Roo and I made some 'berry buns' of our own yesterday. Here's the last one... Gobble, gobble...