Elderly 'Angel' gifts house to author Lorna
Lorna Byrne tells Niamh Horan about her tough childhood in Dublin and how her life was transformed after an angel called Michael said it was time to write
Money isn't important to Ireland's most-famous mystic Lorna Byrne, who is talking about the worldwide success of her Angel books.
"I'm not rich. I never had money so it doesn't appeal to me the same way as everyone else," says the author, who is promoting her latest offering A Message of Hope from Angels.
"There are people out there who feel I'm making loads of money out of it but I am afraid I don't live in a castle."
So what are her living arrangements? She tells me in six weeks' time she is moving into a house with one of her four children that an 88-year-old woman signed over to her.
"An elderly lady years ago, a long time ago, gave me this old derelict farmhouse when (my husband) Joe was alive. She wanted us to move down to make things easier for Joe. It's down in Kilkenny, and we're actually moving back down this summer."
And how did you meet this woman?
"I always say when someone comes to me, God sent them. She's very elderly now and I still see her. She's 88 and she's only bone. She is so thin, she is so fragile. She just wanted me to live down near her."
"Why did she ask you to move down?," I ask.
"To be there. It would be personal for her. To help her family. And I have been helping them all my life.
"But again... you give and expect nothing in return," says Lorna.
"We are going to move back down there in six weeks."
"Because I can't afford to stay up here. So that the money will last."
The 5ft, 58-year-old with porcelain skin, green eyes and shoulder-length red brown hair, is dressed in a smart black-and-white patterned dress and light cardigan. Her nails are meticulous with a perfect French-polished manicure and she sits, softly spoken, at the edge of her seat.
She has made her name as one of the most successful mystics of modern times.
Her first book Angels in my Hair has sold more than half a million copies worldwide since publication in June 2008. It has been translated into 26 languages and is on sale in more than 50 countries.
Her second and most recent work -- A Message of Hope from the Angels -- went straight in at number one in the UK bestsellers' list and spent five weeks in the top 10. On top of that she has just landed a book deal with a major US publisher, the same people behind the phenomenally successful international bestseller The Secret.
The best-selling mystic goes on to explain how her two sons "managed with the help again of somebody" to get a mortgage, which was then used to renovate the house. And did the lady ever ask for the house back?
"She gave it as a gift. Legally it's done," she says very matter-of-factly as she scribbles in the air, mimicking signing her signature.
As in she's handed it over to you?
"Oh yes, legally it's done."
Why did she do it?
"Because she wanted to. She's a good person. There are loads of really good people in the world. Here in Ireland. And I meet them and see them all the time."
And did she ever ask for it back?
"No it's signed and sealed. I wouldn't have a house if it wasn't for her.
"I meet so many wonderful people that do so much good help for others all of the time and they do it with a pure heart and expect nothing in return. That's very important."
It seems the struggle to make ends meet -- from her early childhood years -- right through to her adult married life, has had at least some bearing on the best-selling author.
It takes less than 40 seconds, from the moment we sit down, for her to broach the financial struggle that she experienced from an early age. I ask her where she grew up in Dublin and in the same breath she's telling me how the family's roof fell in. "I used to say to the angels: 'When is it going to happen for us?'," she recalls in her first reference to the celestial beings.
She began writing books after marrying her late husband Joe, with whom she had four children.
"I never had any money. It was like people nowadays being unemployed being so afraid . . . so I actually know what it's like to go out into the vegetable patch in the garden to get carrots that were planted the year before and cut out all the bad pieces and use the good pieces."
She claims she first saw angels as a toddler in the cot. It wasn't until four years after her husband's death that she began writing.
Or rather, was told to by Angel Michael to write.
"He said: 'It's getting near time Lorna'. He told me help would be sent."
A friend bought her the PC and printer on which she has worked ever since.
If she does see angels, then why make money from selling her message, why doesn't she give God's word to people for free?
"Because it is one way that God has given the means to do what he's asked," she says.
"If I was still penniless, I couldn't do it. How could I? Who would I ask to pay for all the flights and hotels? A lot of times all around the world I do talks in big theatres and I always try to keep prices down."
I ask her if she can und-erstand why people would feel that making money would be a motivation for her to write these books. "Yeah I do understand it," she says, still in her soft whispered voice. "I'm just so surprised. Ireland is the only country I get that in."
Why does she think that is? "I haven't the faintest idea," she says.