The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Open Days at Orlagh Retreat Centre by John Byrne


Over 300 visitors passed through our doors over the two days. Sunday was particularly busy and the glorious sunshine was a bonus. As always, first time visitors were struck by the panoramic view from Orlagh when they arrived, none more enthusiastically than the seven year old boy who turned to his mother saying, “Mammy, you can see almost the whole world from here! ” The days were staffed by volunteers drawn from the community that has grown up around Orlagh. and coordinated by the Promotions Committee, chaired by Margaret Quinlan. They contributed hugely to the success of the days. Their friendly welcome, their chat with visitors and the manner in which they shared their experience of Orlagh was the best publicity we could wish for and the Community and Team owe them a deep debt of gratitude. VIDEO A video of the history of Orlagh and the Augustinians, prepared by John Byrne and Bernadette Toal was shown throughout the two days. John, Bernadette and other volunteers were also on hand to show visitors around the ground floor of the building. ARE THEY BULLETS? In the oratory Ray Carroll’s depiction of Augustine and Monica at the window in Ostia with the Hill of Howth in the background raised a smile. Also, one little boy looking at the organ pipes asked Bernadette “Are they bullets?” while another visitor said it was the first time he had seen an organ painted in the Dublin colours. Volunteers Refreshments were available in the dining room: tea, coffee, biscuits along with home cooking from the volunteers. Margaret Quinlan had arranged a special table for children that proved very popular, and a rota of volunteers were kept busy over the two days, making endless cups of tea and coffee, clearing tables and replenishing plates with more goodies. One woman on leaving said: “Thank you. I have met a lot of really lovely people today.” Take a bow, volunteers! It was here in the dining room, over a cup of tea or coffee, that much of the chat took place and questions asked about Orlagh and what goes on here. Particular interest was shown in the weekly meditation sessions and the Sunday Mass. Questions were also asked about the courses run in Orlagh and the printed brochure with our programme for the coming year was on hand to give the information. MEDITATION Mary Kearney and Catherine O’Brien offered guided meditation sessions at regular intervals during the day and they were pleasantly surprised by the number who came to explore what meditation was like. Nature Walks A highlight of the Open Days were the guided nature walks conducted by Mike Loughman and Joe Scully. People were also free to explore the grounds on their own. Some took advantage of the Orlagh Nature Trail leaflet prepared by Sr. Enda Mullen. The Way, a booklet prepared previously in Orlagh under the initiative of Noel Doyle, with quotations from Scripture and St. Augustine, and questions for personal reflection, was also available. John Byrne OSA


Article posted on 29th of August 2013

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