Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The importance of prayer: Northern Ireland and Worcester

Traveling to Belfast I met up with Br. David Jardine, SSF. He is founder and director of Divine Healing Ministries. Founded at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, this healing ministry takes a holistic approach to healing. Through prayer, laying on of hands, anointing with oil, people are healed physically, mentally and spiritually. But early on, Br. David understood the need for healing for the people of Ireland, healing of attitudes and old wounds which contributed to the internecine conflict in Northern Ireland. He began to pray and to call together an ecumenical group of people to pray for the healing of Ireland. Pictured above, David Jardine is in the back on the left. The others in the photo are part of his local Team who gather each week for prayer. Hundreds of people have joined in this effort, and many give explicit credit to the contribution of Divine Healing Ministries in an ending of the Troubles. recently (December 2) David was made Canon of St. Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, the first Religious to hold such a post in the Cathedral since the Reformation. Normally such a position is given to a parish priest.

Worcester and Glasshampton Monastery

From Belfast I returned to England to visit the brothers at Glasshampton Monastery. This somewhat daunting inscription is under the clock tower. And we kept busy praying and gardening, welcoming guests. Glasshampton was founded by Br. William Sirr who was a great social activist and worked on the London docks and was involved in the major social movements of the Twentieth Century. Yet he also was a great contemplative, and worked for the establishment of this house of prayer. The novices in the European province of SSF spend sometime during their formation at Glasshampton. All of the brothers have stories to tell of their time there. I was very grateful for the chance to see the place and be reminded of the centrality of contemplative prayer to the work of Society of St. Francis. Pictured below is Br. Jason Robert, formerly of the Province of the Americas, working on a project in the garden. Br. Amos and I spent a couple afternoon work periods trimming the beech hedge which surrounds the house.