Ruah and Presentation Response, now and in Penal Times
It is now three months since the completion of the 2015 Ruah Programme where fifty Presentation People from around the globe, under the guidance of a great team, met for two weeks in Ireland. Two Australian Sisters, Anne Jordan (Lismore) and Kaye Bryan (Wagga) share some reflections of their time participating in the Ruah programme.
“The first week of the course was held in Galway where Margaret Silf provided excellent sessions each day on the theme of ‘Come to the Edge’. In Margaret ‘s presentation the concept ‘quantum entanglement’, where we were challenged to broaden our understanding of interconnectedness to include beyond the human to the whole of creation, really captured the imagination of the group. Our experience of being intimately connected with all of creation was deepened. A ritual that brought this home to us in a particular way was our prayer time at the Mass Rock, not far from Ballygriffin. It is a beautiful ‘hideaway spot’ which provided a refuge for many Catholics to pray together in penal times. For us, three centuries later, it was a profound experience to feel the spirit of the earth and water holding the spirit of prayer and sacrifice still there in that place.
Throughout our two weeks together we shared our lives with Presentation Associates, Co-Workers, Sisters and Christian and Presentation Brothers. The connection between Nano and Edmund became very real as we brought together their two stories, visited their birthplaces (Ballygriffin and Callan) and the cities where their work began (Cork and Waterford). The fruits of their endeavours were evidenced in our sharing of the past, the present and the future. This year of 2015 was the 200th year anniversary of the coming of the Presentation Sisters to Galway. This historical event was celebrated in Galway in March of this year and, during the Ruah course, we were able to reflect on the magnificent display of twenty-two panels showing the history of the coming of Presentation Sisters to the west of Ireland and to feel inspired by the enthusiasm of two retired teachers who researched and produced the display.
Galway Bay provided a setting for a very special experience. We gathered as a group one evening at the Celie Griffin Memorial Park at Grattan Beach. The memorial commemorates the death of six year old Celie Griffin who died in March 1847, a victim of the Great Famine. Celie arrived with her family in Galway in such poor condition that the Presentation Sisters’ programme of providing a daily breakfast was unable to help her, as her poor body was beyond taking in food. The Memorial Park is in memory of her and the many thousands who died at that time.
These remembrances of the past, together with current stories of Presentation involvement around the world, helped us to gain new life from the richness and new hope for the future.
Anne Jordan and Kaye Bryan