"A DREAM COME TRUE"
OFFICIAL OPENING OF REFLECTIVE GARDEN
Talk given by Sr Rosaleen Cunniffe (Regional Leader)
Thank you for your invitation and your warm welcome! If today was yesterday or any other day during the week, it would not have required great faith to think of opening a reflective/meditation garden, we’d be sitting in sunbeams and no doubt using the image of the sun as the image of God smiling on our endeavours and we’d all have been delighted with ourselves! – However, on a day like today, it does require great faith!! And isn’t that what we
are all about! I’m sure God is looking down on us with great love and perhaps a little humour and as I heard one lady remark to another this morning “I don’t have grass but sure the rain is washing the pebbles!”
I know that the initial idea was to convert the field behind the convent into an outdoor spac where people could relax, reflect and pray. We can all learn from the way in which you all came together to make that dream a reality, not in its original form but in the beautiful space
that we have today. It takes, faith and courage to change course, to look at new ways of realizing a dream, without losing the dream itself. Carmel when you wrote to me 4 years ago about this project, it was the month of November and I remember thinking how brave you
were to be even thinking in terms of gardens. You launched your plans on a cold January day
when we all ran out to see the garden and immediately ran in to have tea! And all that is good because when people come to reflect and meditate in this lovely space
they will be thinking often of the changing interior weather of their own lives – our days of sunshine, and storms, of low pressure and high pressure and where is God in all this?
Through the ages both Christian and Islamic mystics have drawn on the image of gardens as places to encounter the divine, so this garden is a real gift to us all.
Is has obviously been an exercise in community and collaboration, a work of love, an example of commitment and courage and of faith in the future. Most of you or us will never know exactly the difference that this space is going to make to peoples’ lives. We won’t know
the content or the impact of their reflections, but only that they have been offered the space. You are offering possibilities to people, sowing seeds of hope and showing us all what can happen when dreams are realized in the service of faith.
It would be very dangerous for me to start to mention people by name but I do have to mention Carmel and Jim! I feel that Margaret Aylward would be very proud of you as Associates today, and maybe even a little envious!. She tried a few projects in her own day
and wasn’t too successful so she is no doubt rejoicing with you in the completion of this
project – a new way to serve faith needs – a way for our time. We are also joined today by the
spirits of all those Holy Faith Sisters who served in Celbridge over the years and loved this parish and its people. We can all rejoice together in the communion of saints. Our tradition has been to serve in education. We are now in new times requiring new responses. I want to
thank our own Holy Faith community here in Celbridge for seeking new ways to be in the service of faith. Thank you to everyone involved in this wonderful project and hearties congratulations on the outcome of all your dreams, the generous gift of your talents and the
After a whole week of glorious sunshine in May, Saturday 26th , the day of the Opening and blessing of the Reflective Garden in the Wellsprings Centre, Holy Faith Convent Celbridge dawned: no blue sky; no warming sun; pouring rain all day!
About 50 people had been invited and almost all turned up. Many had been volunteers or donors. The volunteer gardeners didn’t mind the rain at all; they were just grateful for the earlier sunny days which enabled them to put the finishing touches to the garden.
The garden is a redesign of the existing patio and courtyard. The garden was to be tranquil, relaxing but low maintenance. The Celbridge Holy Faith Associates were the first ‘dreamers’ of the project and with volunteer assistance from professionals Robbie Norris and Noleen Deveaney, and donations in kind from local and not so local enterprises, the dream became reality.
A feature of the garden is a sculpture of the Woman at the Well, the story in chapter 4 of John’s Gospel where the woman encounters Jesus at the well. It symbolises what Jesus can reveal to us about ourselves in moments of stillness.
Congratulations to the sisters, the Associates, the volunteer and all involved in the construction of the prayer garden.
Sr Vivienne Keely
This project dovetails very well the Holy Faith Irish Regional Team's focus for this coming year "Care for the Earth".
How the garden has been used so far
Before the actual Blessing we had a Retreat Day led by Fr Brian McKittrick, C.C. This retreat took place during Lent and there were 16 participants. What more appropriate title Than The Woman at the Well It was Springtime and the Garden looked splendid with an array of spring flowers.
Since the Blessing we have had the Icon Course where the participants could relax during their Lunch break.
More recently we invited parishioners to visit the Garden one morning after Mass and have a chat and a cuppa. Remarks like "beautiful space" and "a real sense of peace and tranquility." we're repeated many times.
Last week the Celbridge/Straffan Confirmation team spent a day in Wellsprings reflecting on the coming year. The began with prayer led by Fr Kevin and Sr Olive in the Garden space. In the quiet and stillness we were able to tune out from our own inner noise and encounter God in nature, the song of the bird, the splash of the fountain, the wind stirring the leaves, distant sounds of machines not as distraction but a reminder of human beings as creative, sharing in the creative work of God.