On this Tuesday, 50 years ago, September 15, 1967 a group of young men began their novitiate year in the Dominican Priory in Pope's Quay, Cork. There were nine of us. One left at the end of the novitiate, five during the following six years. Three of us were ordained priests. One resigned from priestly ministry shortly after ordination. There are still two of us Dominican priests.
This week I'm flying solo. Literally. A quick business trip to the States (God I love the way that makes me sound like a tycoon!) has meant I have to go to Philadelphia for a few days. Himself cannot escort me this time round because he has to earn the money to keep me in the shoes I have become accustomed to! So I have been let loose on my own.
It's fast becoming the Cuban Missile Crisis of our time as wrangling between Pyongyang and Washington continues to escalate following news of North Korea latest nuclear test - an audacious Hydrogen bomb five times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.
I have decided to write a romance. The original plan was to produce a detective story, reflecting the taste of a would-be author whose inclinations are more Holmes & Watson than Mills & Boon. But I have experienced problems in dreaming up convincing motivation for the Colonel, to explain precisely why it was that he bludgeoned the butler to death with a glass candlestick in the drawing room.
I was ordained a priest in 1974. Paul VI was pope and the new wind of Vatican II was in the air. There was a noticeable enthusiasm about. Paul VI was quietly but surely seeing to it that the windows and doors of the Catholic Church would stay open, windows and doors that Pope John XXIII had begun to open. I lived in Rome between 1974 and 1976 and it was exhilarating to see signs of a new open church appearing.
This week marks the familiar wave of anxiety and anticipation as over 52,000 students receive first-round CAO offers. For many it will all have worked out as planned. For others it's a period of disappointment and uncertainty - but this feeling should not be allowed to linger for long.
Six weeks in and I've finally admitted defeat: I'm ready for them to go back to school! So ready in fact that I have purchased the new uniforms, school bags, books and I'm ready to push them out the door with a ham sandwich and "nut free" cereal bar. 'Good bye! Good luck my darlings! Be somebody else's problem for six hours!'
US Senator John McCain cut a noble figure last Tuesday when he returned to Washington to vote in the Senate on a health bill. The 80-year-old Republican Senator from Arizona made some powerful remarks on the floor of the US Senate just a few short days from surgery having been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
In the 18 years I've been writing this column, I've never once been stuck for something to write about. I'm sure there have been weeks when people have read it and said, 'what is she going on about? or 'what a load of drivel' but I've always had something I've wanted to get off my chest.
I flew back from holidays thinking Michael O'Leary should probably start weighing passengers instead of baggage. He'd make far more money. I packed on at least half a stone in the three weeks I was away. Can you imagine if everyone on the plane did the same? He'd make a bloody fortune!
My pal Willie was one of the first males of our generation IN Our Town to fall in with the women's movement. No better man to burn a bra. He could talk the feminist talk on issues such as equal pay, contraception, glass ceilings and gender balance long before most of his buddies realised such issues were there to be talked about. The rest of us were content to bumble along in a world where stereotype father figures were the doctors and the judges and the breadwinners and the pint drinkers.
By the time this appears in the newspaper the blue skies may have disappeared and been replaced with cloud and rain. That's Ireland for you. But so far this summer it's not been too bad. Not only that, only last week I heard someone complaining about the 'heat'. And that's Ireland for you too, and its people.
Leo the Lionheart emerged from his cerebral Mount Olympus last week as a leader capable of McGregoresque slapdowns, crowning a week which saw him featured on the cover of Time magazine, days after Coldplay's Chris Martin sang his praises in front of 80,000 people.
Timothy Radcliffe cuts an impressive figure. He is a tall man who has an air of gravitas about him, which he easily mixes with a sense of fun. A kind man too. He is a 70-year-old English Dominican priest who was Master of the Dominican Order from 1992 until 2001. Indeed, in the 800-year history of the Order, Timothy is the only English man to have held the job.
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