House of Brigid 2009-10

House of Brigid 2009-10

29 August 2009

Hello again from Wexford!

-Wexford Opera House-

The community has had nearly two weeks now of getting our feet on the ground and preparing for a year’s work in Ireland. We’ve been to a concert in the Wexford Opera House, and had some really great days just walking around, getting to know the town. Finally, knowing our way around plus what are the best grocery stores, cafes, and bookshops definitely helps to have gain some ownership of this place. The parish has been overwhelmingly welcoming and gracious, and we’re about ready to start giving back.

This past week, we spent three days in Ferns at St. Aiden’s monastery on a retreat planned for us by Fr. Martin. It’s a truly peaceful and beautiful place. We each had our own hermitage and space to meet as a group in the convent. It was great to have a little time away to reflect and prepare for the coming year. The retreat was also good for getting a better picture of what we’ll be trying to accomplish this year.

Our first tasks and events are coming up already. Tonight we’ll be attending the Youth Festival at Our Lady’s Island (a place the Folk Choir visited on our tour here in the Spring of ’08). This coming week the Folk Group begins rehearsals, and there is a liturgy for the youth of the parish who will be transitioning into Secondary school. We’ll keep you posted as we hit the ground running here!

25 August 2009

Upcoming retreat at St. Aidan's

Slainte, friends!

The Teach Bhríde crew heads to Ferns this afternoon, to St. Aidan's monastery for a retreat led by Fr. Martin, curate at the Church of the Annunciation. We'll be back on Thursday evening-ish, with hearts, minds, and spirits rejuvenated, and a clearer sense of how each one of us can use our individual talents for the good of our own community as well as the Wexford community.

Our retreat forecast: RAIN. All day tomorrow. No bother, though--I think the rain will provide just the right atmosphere for being introspective, and for reflecting on the world and one's place and purpose in it. Will let you know how my theories hold up against the weather when we get back.

Until then, keep us in prayer, and know that we will gladly be returning the favor!

21 August 2009

Cultural adaptations

Slainte, friends!

So we arrived in Ireland safely, with luggage in tow and high spirits intact. Labs survived the plane ride, I survived the transfer to Gatwick airport, Martha survived the way a seasoned international traveler always does (she was just fine!). We were met at the Dublin airport by Fr. Denis and Des, and traveled by mini-bus back to Wexford.

These past few days we've been hosted by Emmett and Gráinne Cullen at Granville House, a lovely B&B not far from our house in Cluain Dara, which isn't quite ready yet. No bother, though, as they say here--the tiler has been working all week, and once he's finished, the carpets will be installed, furniture moved in, and we'll be all set!

In the meantime, we've been overcoming jetlag and adjusting to the new time zone (5 hours ahead of our EST friends, 6 hours for my crew in the CST), as well as getting to know the town through the tours given by our gracious hosts at Clonard Parish. We've also been getting used to the weather here. It's much cooler than the sweltering summer we left in the States, but it has also rained for at least part of every day since our arrival. Our new friends say that the rain has been much more prevalent this summer, but so far, it hasn't dampened our spirits at all. Myself, I feel as though I'm experiencing the real Irish weather for the first time, since the sun shone through all of my previous visits here. I'm just going to have to stop associating rainy days with perfect opportunities for four-hour naps and repeated viewings of Jurassic Park (best rainy day movie ever; The Goonies is a close second).

All in all, we're getting our feet wet--figuratively and literally--and we're learning our way around. Tonight we go to the Wexford Opera House for a concert performed by The Swell Season, fronted by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová of the movie Once. This is just the first of hopefully many of our adventures in this little Irish town with the huge music scene.

As for everything else--the house, getting started with work, settling in to parish life--again, as we've heard so many times here, "We'll sort it out!"

16 August 2009

go hEirinn!

Well folks, here we are...the community is finishing the final packing and will be headed to JFK Airport in about an hour. Our flight leaves at 8:20 for London, then a switch of airports and airlines puts us in Dublin! We are all in varying states of packing, saying goodbyes, coming to terms with the fact that we are ACTUALLY moving. This is really happening now and we are excited to begin our work in Wexford tomorrow. By this time tomorrow we should be in Wexford and settling into the house. Our address is (as far as we can tell): 206 Cluain Dara Rd. Clonard, Co. Wexford, Ireland. If that changes, we'll post the change on here. Thanks to everyone for their prayers and support these past few months, now it is go hEirinn!

14 August 2009

The Community Gathers

As of last night I have been a guest in the house of the Calcutts in Fairfield, CT as we prepare for our departure to Ireland on Sunday. Carolyn is joining us this afternoon when Martha and I drive into New York City to pick her up at La Guardia. Another mentor, Cookie, will be joining us as well this weekend. Tonight's activities include a mass and dinner here at the Calcutt's and I'm sure plenty of time spent talking about our new community. Hopefully we can update some more as the weekend progresses. Our flight from JFK is scheduled to leave at 8:20pm on Sunday. Please pray for a safe flight and for those who await us in Ireland!

04 August 2009

House of Brigid on Twitter!!

As we continue to prepare for the big move in 12 days Teach Bhride has arrived on the Twitter network! Check us out at The tweets will also be fed into the update widget on the right side of this blog.

St. Brigid Tapestry

The above picture is the tapestry located in the day chapel of the Church of the Annunciation in Clonard, Co. Wexford. The tapestry was created by the ladies of the parish and is a wonderful addition to the wall of the chapel. The legend of St. Brigid says that she once approached the king of Leinster to ask him for land on which she could serve the poor. The king was not interested in helping Brigid, but in order to make her go away the king consented to Brigid taking as much land as her cloak could cover. When Brigid spread the cloak, it miraculously covered much of the king's land. The tapestry in Clonard shows the cloak joining with the ground and all of nature. As the year goes on we'll try to explain in detail some of the different parts of the cloak.

The community is eagerly awaiting the beginning of our ministry. We will fly to Ireland in just 13 short days to begin our work with the people of Clonard! We cannot wait to be on the ground and working.