We are a team of Sisters of Mercy who, in the spirit of a compassionate, gentle and gracious God, welcome to our Hermitage Centre and to Glendalough all people who are seekers of truth, love, awakening and transformation.
As Roman Catholic women we are formed and shaped by our faith in Jesus Christ as the incarnation and revelation of a living and loving God. We welcome and honour all who come seeking peace, rest and spiritual renewal, regardless of their culture or beliefs.
We are qualified and experienced in Spiritual Accompaniment/ Direction, Prayer Guidance, Education, Psychotherapy, Philosophy, Theology and Group Facilitation.
Glendalough is a place of beauty and solitude and is filled with the healing power of nature. As Mercy Sisters, we hold our Hermitage Centre in trust for all who come to this sacred place.
We provide hospitality for people and in keeping with our Mercy charism, we wish to extend a warm welcome to those who are in special need of any kind. Thus, we make the Hermitage Centre available as widely as possible to everyone including those who are marginalized and might have no other way of accessing such an experience of beauty and peace.
I am a Kilkenny girl but have lived most of my life outside the county. I taught in Primary School for many years working with marginalized children. This was a very fulfilled and fulfilling time for me. The children taught me more than I could ever have hoped to teach them.
“Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.” (Matt 11:25)
In 2002, my life took a dramatic change when I entered the Sisters of Mercy. This period has been the steepest and greatest learning curve of my entire life. It has also been one of the most liberating. I have been involved in a number of ministries and currently I am based here at Glendalough Hermitage Centre.
I love the element of hospitality that is associated with my work. It allows me the opportunity to interact and chat with the retreatants. Extending a welcome to others happens naturally for me because I come with a predisposition of care towards others.
I also see hospitality as a manifestation of Christ’s presence among us, an understanding which can be enriched by our prayerful reading of the gospel stories. I am reminded of the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) and the Emmaus story (Luke 24:13-35). A number of Old Testament stories come to mind also – Abraham who invited the three strangers in from the desert (Gen 18) is a particular favourite of mine.
Even though Abraham and the two disciples didn’t recognize the strangers in their lives, they accepted them and invited them to stay. In the welcome, many blessings came their way and their lives were transformed. God is in the unexpected moments of all our lives. I would hope that I would be aware of His presence, both in the people I meet and in the environment in which I live.
My prayer is that our guests will experience a peace and a freedom provided by our pleasant surroundings and go away hope-filled and spirit-filled.
My name is Doreen Figueiredo. As you will gather from the name, I am not Irish by birth, nonetheless I feel very Irish, because for about one third of my life I have been in Ireland.
My parents came to Kenya from India, and I grew up in Nairobi. Having qualified as a teacher I worked with Irish Sisters of Mercy, and decided that their apostolate to the poor was what I was most interested in sharing.
I came to Ireland for my religious formation, and further professional studies, and then returned to Kenya . When my work in school ended I qualified as a chaplain, and worked with teenagers in Dublin. In the intervening time my family went to live in Canada, and my dad who had reached one hundred years of age needed my help.
Thankfully I had a long and fruitful time as a carer, and when he passed peacefully away I returned to Ireland. Having given the future some thought I felt drawn to Glendalough, and so for a part of each month I come to this beautiful and sacred place.
I feel privileged to be part of a tradition which stretches back to St. Kevin and the holy people that over the years have made this place truly holy ground!
“What is this life if full of care,
I have no time to stand and stare,
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows”.
These are the words of the poet, J. Kilmer, which come to mind, as I journey to the beautiful valley of Glendalough.
I am Joan O’Carroll, who entered the Sisters of Mercy, after completing my Secondary School education in Birr, Co. Offaly. I worked for 36 years in Primary Education, both as Principal and a Special Needs teacher. For my Sabbatical, I went to Gonzaga University, Spokane in America, where I had the opportunity to study Human Development Scripture/Spiritual Studies and Art Therapy.
While on Retreat in Glendalough Hermitage Centre in 2012, I was very touched by the serenity and peacefulness of the place.
“Surely God was in this place and I never knew..” Gen. 28:16
In 2013, I was invited to join the Team, so I left the Golden Vale of Tipperary and journeyed to the beautiful valley of Glendalough, in Wicklow.
“Come away O human child to the waters and the wild….the world’s more full of beauty than we can understand..” W. B.Yeats.
It is my privilege to be here and serve all who come to Glendalough Hermitage Centre, as pilgrim or other.