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Orthodox Women’s Monastery In Ireland

The Orthodox Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring, in Shannonbridge, Ireland

My writer friend Paul Kingsnorth tips me off to a marvelous project in rural Ireland: the establishment of an Orthodox women’s monastery by some Romanian nuns. The Orthodox Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring 

The Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring is a women’s monastery established in 2019 with the blessing of His Eminence Joseph, Metropolitan of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of Southern and Western Europe.

It is dedicated to the Mother of God, its main feast being “The Life-Giving Spring” (celebrated on the Friday after Easter), it is also dedicated to St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise ( Feast day – the 9th of September), to all Celtic Saints of Ireland (celebrated on the second Sunday after Pentecost) and to St Prophet Daniel and the Three Youths (celebrated on the 17th of December).

The Monastery is located in the very heart of Ireland, in Shannonbridge, just a few kilometers away from the 6th century monastic site of St. Ciaran in Clonmacnoise. Ireland was famously abundant in monasteries, and the Irish landscape was sanctified by the ascetic labours and constant prayer of countless monastics for hundreds of years in the first millennium.

Although founded by the Romanian Orthodox Church, the monastery is open to anyone, of any nationality, language, race, or age and the language used during the services will be, depending on the congregation, Romanian and English, with some Greek, Russian, and even Irish.

At the moment the monastery is home to two nuns and welcomes pilgrims throughout the year, subject to availability of places.

Here is a clip of the nuns chanting a hymn, in English, with images of the monastery:

And here they are chanting a hymn about St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, a local 6th century saint, whose feast day was yesterday, September 9:

 

 

The property was a retreat center run by Catholic Ursuline nuns, who apparently could no longer keep it going. So the Romanian Orthodox bought it, and it is now a convent. This delights me, and not only because I am an Orthodox Christian. When I made my first and only trip to Ireland over a year ago, I heard many dreadful things from Irish Catholics about the state of the Catholic Church there. The abuse scandal in Ireland has devastated the church, along with mass secularization that began in the 1990s. I heard stories about people who were broken by the scandal, and could no longer bring themselves to go to mass.

I would like to invite them to visit this Orthodox monastery, to pray, and to offer God their sorrows. A priest comes to say the Divine Liturgy, to which anyone can come. Though only Orthodox are allowed to commune, Catholics can at least be in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (Catholic teaching holds that Orthodox sacraments are valid). This little monastery can be an oasis of light and healing.

I understand that the nuns have a big payment to make on the property by year’s end. If you are Orthodox, or an Irish Catholic who nevertheless cares that ancient prayers continue to be heard and said on this holy ground, where once Catholic nuns lived, and that the Eucharist be offered there, please consider donating something to these nuns. Here’s a link for those who want to help.Please be generous. Ireland is de-Christianizing; these nuns from a foreign land are doing their part to stand against the tide of atheism.

UPDATE: Maybe it’s easier for you to donate to the nuns through their Go Fund Me.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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