Friday, August 16, 2013

New female religious order arrives in Ireland

The Franciscan sisters arriving at their new home - pic courtesy of Drogheda Independent
 
The Franciscan sisters of the Renewal have arrived in Ireland. They were welcomed to Drogheda yesterday at a special celebration in St Mary's parish church by the local bishop Michael Smith. Also in attendance were Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the Papal Nuncio to Ireland Charles Brown, the new bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty and local parishioners and clergy.

This new community arrive at an important time in Ireland. Previously in the parish, the Mercy sisters were very active, but with an ageing congregation and few vocations, they have withdrawn from the area. On the invitation of the local bishop and the suggestion of Cardinal Dolan, the sisters will take up residence in the town of Drogheda in the words of Bishop Smith to "bring a consciousness of God’s love to the poor and neglected, visiting the sick, walking with the homeless, feeding the needy. They will seek to touch the poverty within, the inner needs of the human heart, with the compassion of Christ.”

The sisters arrive soon after the Meath diocese welcomed a community of Benedictine monks from Oklahoma to Stamullen last year. It is very heartening for religious in Ireland to see these invitations from an Irish diocese to other religious orders with an international outreach. Their presence is to be welcomed and there is great anticipation that these very visible religious will attract vocations to their way of life. It has often been said in religious circles in Ireland that the lack of 'visible' religious is one of the many reasons as to why there are fewer vocations to religious life in this country.

The sisters join the many other religious communities in the Drogheda area, including the Dominican friars and Dominican contemplative nuns. Welcome to them and we all look forward to collaborating in furthering the mission of the church and the work of attracting and cultivating vocations to religious life in Ireland.
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