Greetings from Wexford, Ireland! The ninth year of House of Brigid is officially in motion, and what an excellent year it will be! Over the course of the past couple weeks, the seven of us have prepared for and started settling in our respective homes in Dublin and Wexford. During our orientation, we were guided by the fabulous Marianne in very helpful seminars that led us into deeper conversation and prayer about our upcoming adventure! I particularly loved our Meyers-Briggs Personality Workshop! We had the honor of dining with the wonderful John & Ann Calcutt and Chuck Lamphier, who are great support systems for us! We even had the chance to collectively go outside and admire the solar eclipse (not directly, of course). As I look back at our time together before our plane departed, I can say with certainty that this year will be one like no other. There is so much talent, eagerness to serve, flexibility, openness, and hope within the hearts of this new Teach Bhride fellowship.
As a former Teach House Bhride Director once relayed to me, “coming back, even after living in Ireland for a year, actually feels like coming home.” These words resonated with me when I first heard them, and they certainly echoed in my head, bright and early on August 23rd, as our Wexford bus hit the sweet town. A year is a long time to live in a city, but time really does fly. But instead of some romanticized, epic feeling when reuniting with the Irish streets, I was filled with a sense of normalcy, of familiarity, which comforted me and brought back so many memories. It was like I never left. A second year in Ireland will not only be a great gift to me, but a chance to not let this precious time go by – to savor and enjoy the little moments! I’m not always one for habit or routine, but strangely enough, I found myself deeply missing this home that I had here in Wexford, so falling back into that lovely Irish rhythm is really something to celebrate.
Some things that I loved last year and look forward to this year include, but are not limited to:
-Walking: Having a car in the US is a great privilege that I severely missed in Ireland last year, but for some reason, Wexford makes me want to walk. I love wandering in this town.
-The stained-glass window in the day chapel: Walking into that chapel and sitting in the front pews as the colors rest on you…it’s one of the best things.
-Main street: The four of us walking around the town and looking at the many shops, seeing people you know occasionally on the streets, getting a coffee, reading in the Book Centre…. Etc. The life on that little street can be so energizing!
-Hydrangea flowers everywhere! I remember thinking to myself last year, “Is it coincidence that my favorite flower happens to be in almost every Irish persons’ front garden?” Upon arrival this year, I was surprised to see that four new hydrangea plants were nestled in our backyard. 😊
-Tea Time! The pace and insanity of this group remains the same. Experiencing this ritual for a second time has already filled me with such great joy. Not only do I look forward to this time, but I love seeing the way my new three community members interpret, react, and engage in this very lively and entertaining dynamic.
My Teach Bhride fellows are simply fantastic! I feel honored to be with them as we grow and learn from each other, and each one of them has so much to give. Even within our first week at Clonard Church, I can tell the parishioners are already impressed with their friendliness and candor. Most of our time has been spent organizing our new office space; what was once Sr. Mary’s office is now Teach Bhride’s. We still have a lot to set into place and prepare for as our schools will be starting within the next couple days. While I truly admire my new teammates, I cannot help but also miss my previous three community members greatly. (Alex, Megan and Madeline, come visit?!) I look to the past and the future with so much gratitude. I’m grateful not only for what I’ve learned, but for the chance to learn more and more! Please keep our communities, both in Wexford and Dublin, in your prayers as we continue our mission, while serving and learning on the go!