A unique book focusing on 70 people from religious life, who have a strong connection with the village of Ardpatrick, was launched last week before a packed attendance in the local community hall.
'Ardpatrick Remembered', which marks the Gathering 2013, charts the lives of those who were either born, educated, buried or have a grave in the village and became bishops, priests, deacons, brothers or sisters in the Church in Ireland and across the globe.
Among the large attendance was the book's author, Ardpatrick native and Bishop of Killala John Fleming and former principal of Kilfinane's Scoil Pol, Sr Kathleen Neenan, who is now the Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of St Paul in Sellypark in Birmingham, as well as many members of religious life, their families and members of the local community and beyond.
The book was launched by Sr Neenan, who paid tribute to Bishop Fleming for producing an excellent publication which honours so many people from the village who dedicated their lives to spreading the Gospel all over the world and placed their contribution to the Church in a social and religious context.
Sr Neenan said that sometimes an appreciation of a native place is strongest only when we leave and this book illustrates that those people of Ardpatrick who travelled far and wide remained tremendously close to their native place.
A native of Dromin-Athlacca, Sr Neenan recalled her own memories of Ardpatrick and the close links that always existed between the Church, the school, the local hall and the post office and how this fed into the rich tapestry of community life there.
Bishop Fleming said it was amazing that a parish the size of Ardpatrick had produced such a large number of men and women who entered religious life in all its forms ranging from contemplative orders to active ministry. He thanked Ardpatrick Parish Council, Pat Casey, MC for the evening and the many people who, following an appeal had come forward with information and photographs on those who appear in the book.
'Ardpatrick Remembered' is filled with fascinating biographies and photographs that recognise and bring to life the very real connection between the village's native sons and daughters and their subsequent good work and it will be cherished for a long time to come.