Francesca Brown: There's an angel at my table
Author and angel whisperer Francesca Brown tells Chrissie Russell that she has some good news . . . from the other side
For those who have been praying for an end to the recession, Francesca Brown has some welcome news.
The best-selling author of My Whispering Angels has had a word in her ear from the celestial horde heralding the end of Ireland's financial misery.
"The angels often talk about the recession and their message is that there's a great healing in Ireland that is already beginning," the Dublin woman (52) reveals.
"There are some people predicting doom and gloom, but I'm singing from a different hymn sheet. I've had no messages like that, all I'm hearing is that we've got to keep positive and we're going to get through it, it's already started."
Good news indeed, but then Francesca's message has always been one of hope. The Dublin mum-of-two first leapt into the public eye in 2009 when she penned her first book, My Whispering Angels, an inspirational tale of how she beat ME and uncovered a gift of communicating with the angelic world.
When I speak to her she is just back from a 20-day tour, speaking to fans of her message in America. It's the culmination of nearly three years on the road, leading Angelic workshops and promoting her books, the second of which, The Voices of Angels, came out last year and promptly followed her first up the book charts.
Now back in the rented cottage she shares with her husband Fran, an alternative healer, in Co Limerick, she's hosting a final Evening with the Angels in Dublin on June 4 before heading off to her second home in Spain for three months' downtime to work on new books.
The reason she wants us to know the angels' forecast for Ireland's future is because so many people's interest in the spiritual world has stemmed from disillusionment caused by the recession.
"I think people are becoming more aware now that there's more to them and more to life than material things," she explains. "So many people lost sight of that during the boom years."
A recent MORI poll in the UK revealed that 46pc of adults believe in angels while a Gallup poll in the USA suggested three-quarters of us believe in heavenly beings.
Despite dwindling church attendance -- just one-third of Catholics regularly attend Mass with as few as 2pc attending in some Dublin parishes -- Ireland still has an appetite for the spiritual as recently evidenced by Lorna Byrne, another angel whisperer, and her 12-week reign in the book charts.
"I think church isn't for everyone," says Francesca. "But a lot of people want to have their own relationship with God.
"Especially young people, I'm contacted by a lot of young people, as well as men, women, priests and people from all walks of life who want to know more about the spiritual side of life."
But often, as in Francesca's case with her own illness, it takes a moment of crisis before people want to address the idea of a life beyond.
She recently returned from a trip to Utoya, the once-idyllic Norwegian holiday island, now forever associated with the massacre of 69 children and adults last July.
"It's a very sad place, you can feel the sadness and the screams," she says quietly. "I was asked by some relatives of the victims to come, but it is too soon to talk about that, it's too raw and too personal."
She's often visited by people struck by grief or feeling suicidal. Surely it must be emotionally draining?
"No," she replies. "The angels keep my energy up and reach out with positivity. I never take a day off and answer every email, because it's what I'm here to do."
And of course, she's not providing a service for free. "Every interview I do, they always say to me 'you must be rolling in it now'. But I'm not! My first royalty cheque for My Whispering Angels was for €68 -- it got me a few groceries.
"When the angels told me they would take my story around the world they never said they'd make me a millionaire. It keeps the wolf from the door and that's enough."
With so many names, particularly in Ireland, associated with angel workshops, books and channelling, one could be forgiven for assuming that there's a degree of competition.
How does Francesca feel, for example, about Lorna Byrne's big book deal with a US publisher? "Personally I believe, and the angels have said, there's no competition between us all," she replies.
"Every book that goes out there has its own story to tell and if someone else's book does better than mine then there's a reason for that."
She adds: "I'm not in this for the money.
"We're going to get through the recession but the new Ireland that comes after won't be the same as before.
"We need to realise that it's important to help each other and give thanks for what we have and not get fixated on having millions in the bank.
"As the angels often say, you can't take any of it with you when you cross over."
An Evening With The Angels, hosted by Francesca Brown, is in Westmanstown Sports and Conference Centre Dublin 15, at 7.30pm, June 4. Tickets €25 phone: 0861241313