US order to open monastery in Meath


SET IN spacious grounds overlooking the Irish Sea, a new monastery will be home to a community of 10 Benedictine monks and four candidates who are considering a monastic life.

For hundreds of years, Ireland sent missionary priests and monks all over the world. Partly in a gesture of gratitude for the thousands of religious people who went to America, a US community of Benedictine monks from Tulsa, Oklahoma, are establishing the new monastery in Co Meath.

Run by American religious of Irish ancestry, the Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle will be based at the former Visitation Sisters’ House in Stamullen, Co Meath. It is set to open in the coming weeks.

The delighted prior, Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, spoke about why the Benedictines have decided to come to Ireland.

“I descend from stalwart Leitrim and Cavan people on my father’s side, and Brother Benedict descends from good Mayo stock. We look forward very much to taking root in the homeland of our forefathers,” he said.

“Given the immense number of priests and religious who left their native Ireland to establish and serve the church in the United States, it seems to me that the hour has now come for some Americans to return love for love by leaving the United States to serve the church in Ireland. Ours will be a distinctively monastic mission: a hidden life of liturgical prayer and adoration with a ‘welcoming heart’ for priests.

“There is not a Catholic in the United States who is not indebted, in some way, to the tireless labour of Irish priests and religious. Our monastic mission to Ireland is an opportunity for all of us to demonstrate our gratitude to the church in Ireland, and to offer Our Lord, in a land once rich in monastic life, a new monastery wholly dedicated to the adoration of His Face, and sanctification of men chosen to be the special friends of His Sacred Heart – His priests.”

Last October Bishop Michael Smith of Meath gave the official go-ahead for the community to come to Ireland.

The Benedictines have moved in over the past fortnight, and they are now in the process of renovating the old Visitation convent house at Stamullen.

Later in the year they plan to transform several stone outbuildings into a facility for welcoming priests, and in particular priests in need of spiritual help.

“We are fortunate to have a network of friends and competent advisers in Ireland; these are priests and laymen convinced that our presence there will contribute to the renewal of Catholic life in the Isle of Saints and of Scholars,” added Prior Kirby.