I was born and grew up in Dublin in a large Catholic family, there are seven of us, and I am the youngest girl. My parents have great faith and this was a big influence on us as we grew up and still is. However like most young people of that time almost all of us fell away from any real practice of our faith once we left home. I have no doubt that my parents constant prayer for me has played a huge part in my path to monastic life and growing relationship with God. I admire them and am so grateful; they have never stopped questioning and growing in their faith. Now we have great chats!
After finishing school I studied for a degree in Environmental Biology at University College Dublin and followed this with a Master degree in similar studies in Aberdeen, Scotland. I had always been interested in the natural world, caring for the environment and living in harmony with the world around me. I imagined I would become a Greenpeace activist… saving the Whales or such like : ) I worked in the area of Science for several years after obtaining my qualifications, in Scotland and later returning to Ireland. I enjoyed the work very much. I had always loved the sense of excitement and discovery that comes with the Sciences.
Like all young people I had plenty of friends, an active social life, relationships, holidays. Religious life never entered my head; in fact nothing could have been further from my mind. I assumed that one day in the not to distant future I would get married like my siblings. In my late twenties I became interested in working with people, I had begun to volunteer at a homeless centre in Dublin at the weekends and I loved it. I took a year out to work abroad as a volunteer with disadvantaged children and families in a small village in rural Poland. This was a life changing experience for me and when I returned home I began to look for work in the caring professions. I was fortunate to get work in the homeless services in Dublin. For the first time in my life I felt I was doing something really meaningful, helping other people gave me inner strength. Seeing their great poverty and struggles I began to question more and more the harsh, consumerist society I found myself living in where everything seemed to revolve around getting and spending in a never ending circle, and happiness
often sought in fleeting pleasures. I wondered about other ways to live.
Ever since childhood I had desired to live in the countryside. When a suitable job came up in Kilkenny I moved to a small village several miles from the city. The slower pace of life suited me. I had time for walks in nature, for reading and solitude. I began to slow down. I became interested in meditation, specifically Buddhist Vipassana meditation … also know as insight meditation or nowadays as mindfulness. … this practice helped me through an especially low period in my life, it helped me to connect with something deeper within me. I attended retreats and workshop and began a daily practice. However during one very memorable retreat I realized clearly that although I loved the wisdom of the Buddha that this was not the path for me. I found that I simply couldn’t turn my back on this person, Jesus, this friend from my childhood who had given his life for me even though at the time I had little understanding of what this meant. A deep desire to know him and a love for him grew in my heart. I began to explore my faith with great enthusiasm and a sense of
discovery and excitement. I attended Mass again. I was led to a Christian spiritual centre near my home. I began to read and to pray daily. I knew quite quickly that I would dedicate my life to this wonderful discovery. The desire to belong to a praying community grew and grew. From there it was simply a matter of God placing Glencairn under my nose in the form of an article in the weekend newspaper! A monastic experience weekend was coming up. I emailed Sr. Sarah and we agreed that I would attend. After several visits and an extended live-in during which I was supported in the discernment of my vocation I entered the community at Glencairn.
Looking back over this journey I can now clearly see Gods guiding hand in it all, leading me, and creating a desire for Him in my heart. It has been an amazing and also challenging journey so far. I have a great sense of fulfilment here. Monastic life at Glencairn has all I need to be happy, all that I had been searching for in my life. I am very happy here and so grateful to God for this wonderful gift of a monastic vocation.