Celtic Spirituality and Radical Activism: August 17-24, 2010

I’m excited to announce that Gareth Higgins and I plan to co-facilitate a Contemplative Spirituality and Social Action Immersion Week in Gareth’s home of northern Ireland this August — yes, you read that right: this August. I've just signed on, to replace another presenter who due to unforeseen circumstances has had to bow out. There are only a few places left in this program, which is intentionally being limited to less than 30 participants.So maybe this is an invitation for you.Here's wha … [Read more...]

The Snakes and the Slaves

Happy Saint Patrick's Day.As I ponder on this day, I am reminded that it, like Columbus Day, can elicit a radically different response from people, based on their world-view and value system. Columbus Day for Euro-Americans was traditionally a day of celebration and commemoration of "discovery," but for Native Americans and those who share concern for the plight of indigenous people who face the brunt of colonialist expansion, Columbus Day has become the symbol of loss. As one pundit put it, … [Read more...]

Feile Bríde

Happy St. Brigid's day, everyone! Or, to call it by its proper Irish name, Feile Bríde (the festival of Brigid). Since I'm trying to spend more time editing my book than updating this blog these days, I'll keep this brief: first, here's a couple of links to explore...A wonderful biography of Brigid, courtesy of St. Dunstan's Priory in Colorado; The Solas Bhríde (Light of Brigid) Center in Kildare, Ireland, where Brigidine sisters keep alive the saint's commitment to peace, justice, prayer, a … [Read more...]

Peace Through Music

Take an 11 minute break and watch this video. It's got a gentle but inspirational message.Here's a note from my friend CeCe Miles, whom I met through the Atlanta Chapter of the Ulster Project and who alerted me to this video: Included in this 10 minute video is a 4 minute segment on the Omagh Community Youth Choir which was formed in 1998 by a young musician in Omagh named Daryl Simpson to unite Catholic and Protestant youth after the atrocity of the Omagh bomb which killed 29 people and 2 … [Read more...]

Congratulations, Mr. O’Bama!

To celebrate the victory of our new president-elect, here are two videos featuring the latest "hit" song from Ireland. The first is from a group that calls itself Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys (!)...... and here's the same song, sung in a traditional pub style by Shay Black in Berkeley, California, who has added a few additional verses of his own:Move over, JFK. The Irish have a new "favorite son" in America! … [Read more...]

In Honour of Nature

In Honour of Nature: The Sacred Well in a New Time By Mary Shanahan Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry: Lumenium, 2007 Review by Carl McColmanI love Irish holy wells. The sacred wells dedicated to St. Brigid in Kildare and Liscannor; Tobernault near Sligo; and Tober Phadraig near Clonmel are some of the most beautiful and moving spiritual sites I've ever visited — and these are just a few of the natural water sources in Ireland that have been venerated as places of healing and spiritual presence for ages u … [Read more...]

A fistful of dirt

Here's a wonderful story recounted by John Shea in Daybreak: Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter: There was an old Celt who loved his wife, his children, his friends, and his jar. But most of all he loved the land he trod and fought for food. So when his time came, his sons carried him from the stone cottage and laid him on the stone earth. He clenched a fistful of Ireland and was gone.When he arrived at the gates that only swing in, God appeared in the long robes of judgment. He noticed the … [Read more...]