After a night spent in the seaside town of Bundoran, where we had a wonderful walk along the cliffs after supper, we worked together on a forthcoming letter to all the members and then set off for the nearly three hour journey to Galway, to visit the Poor Clare community there. On the way, Noelle realised that our route would take us via the shrine of Our Lady of Knock, so we took a small detour to briefly visit and pray at the shrine. Whilst there, we bumped into Sister Lucy from the Gorey community (whom we had earlier met at Bray) who was there for the day with Carmel and Sheila Ann. Another very providential and happy encounter.
We then continued to Galway and to the Poor Clare convent, which is situated beside the Cathedral there. The community came there in 1642 from Athlone, to where the founding members had come in 1629, after their formation in the Gravelines Poor Clare convent. It was extraordinary to realise that the Poor Clares have been in that very place since before Mary Ward died.
We had a lovely hour with some members of the 10 member community, hearing about each other’s history and our shared history. We all felt very at home with one another and grateful for our shared Mary Ward heritage. We also exchanged gifts – from us, a set of the postcards of the Painted Life and copies of “Go Close To Him” and “The Little Book of Mary Ward” and from them a copy for each of us of their recent book (which hit the bestseller lists in Ireland in 2012), entitled “Calm the Soul – A Book of Simple Wisdom and Prayer”. We left the community with a great sense of having been blessed by our time there. For anyone interested, their website is http://www.poorclares.ie. On it, they have some information about their history, including the part played in it by Mary Ward. They also told us that they would post some photos on their Facebook page before the end of the day so any Facebook users might like to have a look at those.
We then continued to Roundstone, on the Connemara coast, to stay in the family house of Mary Burkart until Saturday, when we return to Dublin. Tomorrow’s post will, therefore, contain fewer words and more pictures of the glorious countryside and coastline of this more than beautiful part of Ireland.