Tuesday, June 30, 2009


My previous post explains, in part, my absence from 'bloggerland'. Kayleigh's death was the fourth school-related death in less than two weeks. We buried the lovely and dearly missed Kayleigh on Saturday and everything went 'well', that is, people, especially the family were happy and no one was offended - which is the basic minimum at a funeral. The music was not liturgical, there were many there who hadn't seen the inside of a church in a while but we shared a common grief and, I am convinced, God's grace was extended to all to comfort and to call them to trust in Him. It was so intense that it constituted a kind of 'dark high'. I did not want to be burying any sixteen year old least of all Kayleigh but it was a privilege and a profound moment of shared pain that brought everyone into a bond. When I got home it was like no one really appreciated what had happened or what I had experienced - only those who had been there could understand. I hope and pray this is the start of a grace for this particular year group, their Ceann Ti (Year Head) and their teachers. Let's just say that not a few in this year have 'had their moments'. In these dark days for the Church, the priesthood and religious life in Ireland it was good to be part of the Church at her best - supporting, comforting and inviting to faith. Perhaps as time and events unfold and the coming storm reaches its climax and passes on the people of Ireland will remember this side of the Church and forgive our failures, will allow us to mediate the healing mercy of God and discover anew their faith in Christ.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


This is Kayleigh Flynn. She was sixteen and would have been seventeen in August. She drowned yesterday while out having fun with her friends at the Strawberry Beds on the Liffey. As a student she was never going to light up the academic world she wouldn't want to. Instead her dream was to care for children particularly the disabled and she had the talent and the heart for it. As part of our school's Community Care group Kayleigh volunteered and showed up for everything. Once she was helping others she was in her element. Her loss reaches out far into the community of Blanchardstown and it is heaven's gain. Kayleigh will be greatly missed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

San Damiano Crucifix

I haven't blogged in a week or more. I was busy last week with an icon-painting course. I am working on the above Crucifix of San Damiano, the one that spoke to St. Francis. It's a slow job. I started it three years ago but only now am I approaching completion. I have other pieces to finish too.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Kevin is the anglicization of Caoimhin (pronounced either kee-veen or kwee veen) from the Old irish Coemghen meaning 'the Fair- begotten'. Little original material about his life survives. He was born about 498 into a family which belonged to the Dál Messe Corb, a noble Leinster people who lived in what is now West Wicklow.

Kevin or Coemghen is said to have been baptised by St. Crónán and studied for the priesthood in Cell na Manach (Killnamanagh or 'Church of the Monks'), now a suburb of Dublin. After Bishop Lugidus ordained Kevin a priest he left Killnamanagh and set out to find his own hermitage. On arrival in Glendalough (the Valley of the Two Lakes) Kevin chose the area of the upper lake and settled on the south side of the foot of that lake in St. Kevin's Bed, an artificial cave about thirty feet above the level of the lake which was originally a Bronze Age tomb. Kevin lived the life of a hermit there with an extraordinary closeness to nature and his companions were the animals and birds all around him. He lived as a hermit for seven years wearing only animal skins, sleeping on stones and eating very sparingly.

Disciples were soon attracted to Kevin and lead to the the establishment of a further settlement enclosed by a wall, called Kevin's Cell and Reefert Church, situated nearer the lakeshore. All this building and expansion would have bothered Kevin who never really wanted to leave his hermit's life and seemed to have sought solitude and the life of a hermit whenever possible. By 540 Saint Kevin's fame as a teacher and holy man had spread far and wide. Many people came to seek his help and guidance.In time Glendalough grew into a renowned seminary of saints and scholars.

In 544 Kevin went to the Hill of Uisneach in Co.Westmeath to establish a league of brotherly friendship with other holy abbots. Until his death around 618 Kevin presided over his monastery in Glendalough, living his life by fasting, praying and teaching.

St Kevin is one of the patron saints of the diocese of Dublin and we badly need his intercession and spirit of prayer and penance now.

The name is, of course quite common in Ireland. To my knowledge, the female variant exists only in Irish and is spelt Caoimhe and pronounced kee-veh or kwee-veh. As a surname it appears in O'Cuiv or O'Keefe.


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