Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Prophetic Voice on Vocations...

It is a risk I know to label anyone as a prophet - especially when they are still alive and even more so when they are young! So, I hope that you will forgive me for naming a prophet in this brief post. His name is Andrew O' Connell (pictured), who is the communications director for the Presentation Brothers in Ireland. He is, in my opinion, the most authentic and credible commentator on vocations in Ireland. He rarely misses an opportunity at any meeting, gathering, lecture or article to make a case for vocations to priesthood and religious life. And not only make the case but to challenge, inspire, animate and enthuse others about the subject.

A case in point: this week's Irish Catholic newspaper (edition February 26, 2009) Andrew writes in his comment piece about the negativity of many surrounding the so-called 'vocations crisis'. He says that the 'crisis' is not the work of the Holy Spirit but '...due to a pathology of tiredness within the Church in the West. It is due to half-hearted and poorly resourced efforts to build a culture of vocation in the Church'. He proposes that we get back to basics on vocations and he ends with a mighty challenge: 'In particular, on the issue of vocations, it's time for people to make a choice. Lead. Follow. Or get out of the way.'

For many, these words will be difficult to hear, even unpalatable. But they are crucial and important words - just like the words of the prophets of the scriptures.

I am delighted to announce that Dr Andrew O' Connell will be joining us, the Dominicans, to give some input on discernment, at our next Year of Vocation event which will be held in Saint Saviour's Dominican Priory, Dorset Street, Dublin 1 on March 14th next. Details about the event can be found elsewhere on this blog.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Yet Another Happy Event!

Yesterday, it was my great joy to attend the first profession of a Redempterostine nun, Sr Lucy Conway OSsR (pictured above), at their monastery in Saint Alphonsus Road in Dublin 9. The nuns at the monastery are neighbours of mine and I celebrate the Eucharist for them regularly. Sr Lucy's profession follows on from the recent first profession in the same community of Sr Maura Walsh. As you can imagine this event is one of significant importance to this enclosed contemplative community. I am deep in admiration for these nuns who four or five years ago had no vocations and were facing a very uncertain future. Their commitment to prayer and a deep desire to attract vocations has resulted in the fact that this community of thirteen nuns now has five of its members in formation. This is a truly remarkable achievement and a reminder to all religious orders, congregations, societies and dioceses in this country that if there is a will and a deep desire to foster, nourish and attract vocations then tremendous things can happen.

These nuns are doing the Irish church an extraordinary service by the living of their lives but more especially in brining hope to us in their work of vocations promotion.
Sr Lucy, an Offaly woman, had been in the teaching profession before joining the Redemptoristines. I wish her every blessing on her profession and on the community. You can visit the website of the nuns here.

'Swallowing a Big Fat Lie'

'Swallowing a Big Fat Lie' is the title of an article in the current edition of Intercom magazine (March 2009). Written by Paddy O Meara, the content of the article aims to dispel the myth that a vocation to priesthood or religious life is a vocation to unhappiness. He cites recent surveys which have indicated that clergy are far more contented in their career compared with other professions and that a large percentage would choose priesthood or religious life if they were to live life over again.

He argues that there is a perception is that priests and religious are generally an unhappy lot, while evidence points to the contrary. He notes in the article that various reasons are suggested for the decline in vocations to priesthood and religious life - one factor being the lack of encouragement for the person considering 'the road less travelled'. He says that some parents actively discourage a son (0r daughter) thinking about priesthood (or religious life) from pursuing that path. These parents seem to believe that for their son or daughter to make that choice would amount to signing up for a lonely, isolated life. All this brings him to the title of the article 'Swallowing a Big Fat Lie' because he believes that the data and research available on vocations is pointing to a very different reality, namely that there is a great deal of satisfaction and happiness in living the life of a priest and religious.

The article is timely and appropriate during this Year of Vocation. There is no doubt that priests and religious who are happy in their chosen vocations will be instrumental in attracting others to follow that same path.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dominican Nuns in Drogheda enter blogosphere!

The Dominican nuns at Siena monastery in Drogheda, Co. Louth have begun a new blog. It can be located at Welcome aboard sisters!
The blog is designed to allow readers to know more about their contemplative way of life and also to help those who are discerning a vocation to that form of life. I encourage you to take a look and to let the sisters know that you visited.

Monday, February 9, 2009

International Dominican Information - IDI

Interior of Basilica of Santa Sabina, Rome

The various entities of the Dominican Order worldwide have many events of note taking place on an ongoing basis. Thankfully, the brethren at the headquarters of the Order at Santa Sabina in Rome produce a regular news bulletin with information on the activities of the Order throughout the world. Until recently this bulletin International Dominican Information or IDI as it is better known was only avaialable in paper format and by post/mail to the Dominican family. Now an electronic version of IDI is available (with archived editions) on the website of the friars of the Order at It is well worth a look and gives a flavour of the care, concerns and mission of the Dominicans on a global basis.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Year of Vocation - Next Dominican Event March 14th 2009

As part of the Dominican contribution to the Irish Catholic Church's Year of Vocation, the vocations promoters of the Dominican family in Ireland (nuns, Dominican laity, friars and sisters) will be hosting a day for those men and women who are discerning a call to the Dominican way of life. The theme of the day is: Like to know the Dominicans? It is envisaged that the primary focus of the day will be on the theme of discernment. Prayer and the celebration of the eucharist will be central to the work of the day. Those who are participating or who would like to take part will have an opportunity to meet Dominican friars, nuns, sisters and laity to discover more about our life.

We are very grateful to the friars of the Dominican community of Saint Saviour's, Dominick Street, Dublin 1 who will make the facilities of the priory available to us for the day. The event will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 14th, 2009.

While participants will be invited to take part in this day, there is an invitation to others who would like to know more about the Dominicans in Ireland to join us. In order to indicate your interest, you can email myself at or Sr. Breda OP, Dominican nuns, Drogheda at