December 2023: New Resources

New Resources
December 2023/ January 2024


Olive Travers

Illustrations by Barry Britton
Music by Eamon Travers

Beehive Books, 2023
ISBN 978 1 80097 058 8

In an age of working to deadlines, short turnaround time and the desire for instant results, it is a joy to read this beautifully written book – a creative collaboration between Olive, a writer, Barry, an artist and Eamon, a musician. It’s twelve reflections are divided into four seasons – mirroring the ebb and flow of Ireland’s seasons. Each reflection has its own beautiful art work and each piece is accompanied by a musical track (QR Code).

Olive Travers is a regular contributor to RTE Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany and a clinical psychologist. Her writing turns an incisive psychological lens on the memories, travels and experiences of her life in Fermanagh and Donegal, encompassing themes that are both local and universal. The author shows her knowledge, wonder, joys and sorrows from childhood to becoming a mother and now as a proud grandmother with the birth of her newly born grandson. ‘Being alone with this new life, suddenly awes me’ she writes. The miracle of birth moves quickly to her joys and memories of being a teenager in love on Valentines Day 1970. But happiness turns to sorrow with the unexpected death of her brother. Reflections then move to the summer season with ‘Tea in the Hayfield’ while on holiday on a Donegal farm. Beautiful artwork shows fuchsia flaunting its beauty against the back drop of the rugged coast – An Deora Dé. Her memories of the Ballyshannon Music Festivals of the 1980s are now ‘dreamlike, topsy-turvey memories of that special kind of magic’. The winter reflection brings back memories of All Soul’s Day and the death of her father. In the words of Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh, musician – Nets of Wonder is ‘A charming combination of the written words of Olive Travers, enhanced by the evocative music of Eamon Travers and inspired in image by the wonderful visual artist Barry Britton’. This is truly a labour of love.

Reviewer: Geraldine Coyle – Tallanstown, Co Louth



Christian Mystic
Brian O’Leary SJ

Messenger Publications, 2023
ISBN 978 1 78812 648 9

Written by acclaimed Ignatian Scholar, Brian O’Leary SJ, Ignatius Loyola – Christian Mystic, focuses on the mystical experience of the saint and is the first English – Language, non-academic accounts of Ignatius’s mysticism available.

In this book of 110 pages and 7 chapters, the author takes the reader through an introduction to the tradition of Christian mysticism and argues for ‘everyday mysticism’ by taking a detailed step-by-step approach through the mystical experiences of Ignatius, from Manreasa to his time in Rome. It examines how his mystical experience affected him and guided him on life’s journey.

Ignatius was frequently receiving more significant mystical experiences describing how God offered him further lessons – five of which Ignatius has chosen to share with us. These mystical experiences provided the context for his daily prayer and deeply felt devotion.

In 1537, Ignatius and his companions received priestly ordination in Venice, followed by the foundation of the Society of Jesus in 1540. At La Storta, Ignatius hears Jesus speaking the words ‘I want you to serve us’ – and this confirms the closeness of their union. O’Leary mines Ignatius’ writings – the Spiritual Exercises and other texts in which he explores these mystical experiences, giving a clear and accessible account of how Ignatius’ mysticism was rooted within the context of his life. Today, Ignatius is recognised as a major mystic alongside Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross. A detailed and challenging read.

Reviewer: Geraldine Coyle – Tallanstown, Co Louth



Brendan McManus SJ
with James Fullam

Messenger Publications, 2023
ISBN 978 1 78812 614 4

In 1522 St Ignatius began his iconic walk from Loyola to Manresa. Five hundred years later, in the heatwave of 2022, Jesuit priest, Brendan McManus and his newfound travelling companion James Fullam set out to retrace Ignatius’s steps, through Montserrat to Manresa on the newly established Ignatian Camino – a mutual spiritual search for God.

This aptly titled book of 129 pages and 11 chapters, describes two people confronting the challenges of intense heat, exhaustion, dehydration and unplanned stayovers. ‘By lunch of the first day, I was thirsting for the silence’ – was the thought racing through Brendan McManus’s head, as he started out. Yet despite all of their challenges, not least that of getting to know one another, McManus uses the tools of discernment, consolation and desolation to help them stand back from each immediate issue, each negative feeling and emotion and then through reflection to make better decisions.

Each chapter includes Reflection Points – simple spiritual exercises ‘It is like waiting for ripples to dissipate in a pool, in order to be able to see clearly into it’ (p. 82). In an accessible style, Brendan McManus uses the vehicle of their Camino pilgrimage to describe the basics of Ignatian spirituality, to highlight learning points and outline their spiritual journey, which also proved to be the development of a heart-warming and enduring friendship. Brothers in Arms is the story of two pilgrims, one saint, a minibus of nuns and finding the freedom to follow the path God had revealed. A very worthwhile read.

Reviewer: Geraldine Coyle – Tallanstown, Co Louth