Saturday 25 February 2017

Nuns open their doors to thank the public

Brian McDonald

The veil is to be lifted this weekend on the living conditions of an order of nuns who rarely venture outdoors.

The Poor Clare Sisters, an enclosed order who have been based in Galway for more than 350 years, refurbished their convent in the city centre thanks to contributions from ordinary people and local businesses.

The centrepiece of the renovation is the reception area, where they meet members of the public. Today and tomorrow, the sisters will open the convent to the people of Galway to express their thanks.

The order has a core vow of poverty and has had to rely on donations to carry out its much-needed work.

Silence

The nuns only leave the convent for medical reasons or for very special family events. Families are allowed to visit the sisters just four times a year.

They observe a vow of silence until they meet to talk to each other in the evening. They pray seven times daily, even rising at midnight to kneel in prayer.

Yesterday, Sr Colette, a former accountant, said the sisters had been overwhelmed by the generosity of their many friends and the ordinary people of Galway. "We are absolutely delighted with the way the renovations have turned out," she said.

"It was the week before Christmas when we moved in and it has been a bit chaotic, but it was wonderful to be back in before the cold spell.

"We had been operating out of a prefab, which served as a temporary office for meeting members of the public for the past seven months."

Sr Colette added: "We know that the work could not have been done, had it not been for the people of Galway and beyond, who supported us so generously in all the fundraising activities.

"We are looking forward to this weekend and to meeting everyone so that we can say thank you."

Irish Independent

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