Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Working the land and healing the soul

Cuan Mhuire is a charitable body which has supported over 70,000 people through drug, alcohol and gambling addiction since it was founded 50 years ago by Sr Consilio.

At any one time, Cuan Mhuire (Harbour of Mary) is caring for 600 people in its five treatment centres, at Athy, Co Kildare; Bruree, Co Limerick; Newry, Co Down; Farnanes, Co Cork, and Coolarne, Co Galway along with six transition houses.

Residents carry out a variety of therapeutic activities as an integral part of their treatment programme. Along with the likes of woodwork, pottery and needlework, they also have an opportunity to work on the land.

Most of the centres have working farms attached to them. These are primarily run by employed staff and produce a variety of vegetables, mainly for the centre's own use. Some venues also have working garden centres.

Sr Consilio was born Eileen Fitzgerald in Brosna, Co Kerry in 1937 and, among the numerous awards which she has accepted on behalf of Cuan Mhuire, is an honorary MBE, presented by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011.

"Our ethos is to always live in the now," she has said. "See the goodness in everyone and everything. There is no life in the negative."

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