On 7th May we held a celebration to mark the nationwide Bealtaine Festival combined with traditional May procession in honour of Our Lady. The wood close to the Brothers’ community house at Saint Mary's campus in Drumcar was the setting. There was song, movement and music along with all the artwork which our service users have produced over the winter months, providing a wonderful showcase for their talents.

We also honoured the oldest members of our community and the wealth of experience they have shared with us over the years

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Mark Tracey, our most senior person at Saint Mary’s campus in Drumcar, who was presented with a special Bealtaine candle during our celebration.

 

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Paddy Fanning from An Sli, our most senior person living in the community,  with his picture of Drumcar. 

 

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Good Shepherds

The Provincial and Council of the New Province of the Good Shepherd with the Prior General, Brother Jesus Etayo. 

On January 19th, a special ceremony in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was held during which the Congregation of the Good Shepherd Brothers formally joined the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God. The preparation for the ‘Canonical Fusion’, as it is called, was spread over a five year period. The founder of the Good Shepherd Brothers, Brother Mathias Barrett, was himself a Saint John of God Brother for almost 30 years. A new Province of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God was created on the same day - the Province of the Good Shepherd, North America.

The communities, centres and services of the former Congregation of the Good Shepherd Brothers in the United States, Canada, Haiti and Great Britain will all be part of the new Province, along with the Saint John of God Community in Montreal, Canada, and the Saint John of God Community, membership and services in New Jersey. The new Province headquarters will be in Hamilton, Canada, and Brother Justin Howson was appointed Provincial by the Prior General, Brother Jesus Etayo.

For the Brothers of the Good Shepherd, this was a momentous occasion full of emotion, joy and mystery. This was also a joyous occasion for our Saint John of God Family – like the birth of a new child. Our membership increased, the numbers of sick and needy brothers and sisters being served in the manner and spirit of Saint John of God also increased, together with potential for further expansion, development and influence for good in North America and beyond.

On February 11th, during a Brothers’ Assembly in Dublin, there will be a ‘Welcoming Ceremony’ for the five new Hospitallers that live and serve in Europe, three in the UK and two in Ireland. The Provincial and Council of the new Province of the Good Shepherd, North America,  will also take part in the ceremony and Brothers’ Assembly and visit some of our centres in Ireland during their stay.

Let us offer our ‘New’ Saint John of God Family Members a true Hospitaller welcome!

 

Brother Donatus Forkan
Provincial - West European Province

Growing Community Through Gardening

Cintra Allotment Project


Come and See Hospitality!

Presentation of a Hospitaller Story by a Hospitaller for Each Day of the Year

When initially the United Nations dedicated a year to a certain subject or topic be it a popular theme e.g. world peace or a less well known theme for example ‘year of the potato’, it grabbed the imagination of a number of people who would have a particular interest in the proposed idea or it just didn’t get the attention of others because of a lack of interest in the topic in question. It was hoped that having just one idea, one subject, it might stop people in their tracks, so to speak, for a moment to reflect a little on the topic and perhaps influence them for good. Modest enough objective, most would agree!

These days to have a year dedicated to a specific theme or idea is almost passé. However, in my opinion we shouldn’t be too quick to disregard the idea. In our busy, busy world of instant communication through face book, twitter, selfies etc. etc. helping people to focus on one idea clearly has its challenges, but also its merits. The challenges are obvious the benefits are many; it helps to ‘grab’ people’s attention for a moment giving them something specific to reflect upon. To think deeper thoughts and reflect on an issue that may have relevance for them in their daily lives.

We had such a year in 2011-‘12 - Year of the Family of Saint John of God. The many events that took place throughout the world during that year became the catalyst for helping to change our thinking and attitude in the way we see ourselves as followers of Saint John of God, uniting us with a sense of being one family with one mission. This is something that not only has endured but some wonderful new and imaginative ways of expressing the idea have mushroomed throughout the world.

Building on the ‘success’ of that year, although given our internationality, as a family it is still unfolding, - a work in progress - the last General Conference (Chapter) of the Family of Saint John of God, held in Fatima, Portugal, in 2012 agreed that the year 2015-2016 be dedicated to The -Calling-Vocation of the Hospitaller today. The proposed reflection will centre on what it means to follow in the Footsteps of Saint John of God as a lay person or as a consecrated Religious Brother in our modern world.

To help us in our reflection throughout the year an ambitious project was undertaken by an international committee to generate 365 reflections, one for each day of the year, by a members of our Hospitaller Family of Saint John of God. We congratulate and thank the members of the committee for providing us with this wonderful resource.

It is a real pleasure therefore, for me to present these reflections; I know you will enjoy them. Just one example is the first reflection for January 20th by a lay Hospitaller, William Ekerum of Monrovia, Liberia. William tells the story of his experience caring for fellow Hospitallers, all Brothers at that stage, who had fallen victim of the Ebola virus. In all 18 Hospitallers died. These Hospitallers are true heroes who inspire us and fill us with pride at the witness given of what is at the heart of our calling-vocation to follow in the Footsteps of Saint John of God either as a lay person or as a consecrated Religious Brother.

Enjoy the experience and spread the word!

Brother Donatus Forkan OH - Provincial

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Conor Coffey of Carmona Services who shadowed Deputy Simon Harris (right) at Dail Eireann was also welcomed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Conor's Job Coach is Amy McPartland and he was supported on the day by volunteer Anne Marie Walsh


A month on from Job Shadow Day 2014, one of our participants, Conor Coffey recalled his job seeker success story.  He says: ‘In 2013 I did my Job Shadow Day in the Port House in Dundrum.  I shadowed the manager Hubert around the restaurant.  I enjoyed it very much.  I then got 6 weeks’ work-experience.  Then Hubert had a meeting with me and my job coach Amy McPartland and offered me the job.  I was very happy.” 

This year, as well as being interviewed on television for National Supported Employment Week, Conor shadowed Simon Harris TD and also met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Sinead Kennedy who is Support Employment Supervisor at Carmona Services  also took part in the television interview. She added: “The determination of our job seekers, a strong commitment to equal opportuntities from employers and support from job coaches makes for a very strong partnership. All those elements were present when Conor took part in Job Shadow Day 2013. One of our other Job Seekers, Stephen Stuart had paved the way in 2013 by getting paid employment so the relationship with the employer was already established.  The results have been fantastic.“

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