On the Emerald Isle
As you may guess from the title above, the Novices along with the Novice Director and Assistant, are currently in Ireland. We are here to get to know the Jesuits of the Irish Province (http://www.jesuit.ie), and gain an understanding of their diverse ministries and apostolates. Its a mixture of educational talks and some sight-seeing.
On the first day, as soon as we entered the Chapel of the Jesuit community on Leeson Street, Dublin, we observed a huge painting by Caravaggio depicting the taking of Christ. We were to learn later, that this painting had a very interesting history. The Jesuits on Lesson street had actually been in possession of Caravaggio’s lost masterpiece for about 60 years. The interesting history of the painting and how the Jesuits came to have it can be read at http://irishletter.com/caravaggio-taking-of-christ-ireland.html.
The painting is on indefinite loan to the National Gallery of Ireland from the Jesuit Community at Leeson Street, Dublin. We took a brief tour of the gallery on Monday, in order to see this painting. In case you’re wondering, the painting we first observed was a copy donated by the Gallery to the community so they could no doubt tell visitors of its wonderful history.
We also got a chance to visit “Manresa”, which is the Jesuit centre of spirituality (http://www.manresa.ie). I was impressed at their very modern audio/visual facilities and programmes. They even have a wonderful programme called movies that matter which helps participants to reflect, individually and together, on the issues and values raised in a movie, through the eyes of faith. Being a movie lover, a programme like this appeals to my nature.
The other highlight of the visit so far for me, was meeting the retired Jesuits (whom I dub Emerald Knights) of the province and hearing their wonderful stories of life and mission within the Jesuits. They are all quite inspiring and if I had a pound for every time one of them said “When I was a novice….”, I would be a very rich novice!
Some other interesting places visited so far are the Trinity College Library to see the Book of Kells and the ancient monastic site of Clonmacnoise.
And so, our visit continues until next Monday, and we’re off today to Galway. I have no doubt that it will continue to be a exciting and informative visit. Have a great week, until next Wednesday when another blog entry will be posted. AMDG!