June 2023: New Resources
SAINT BRIGID AND OTHER AMAZING IRISH WOMEN
Written by Lorraine Mullholland
Illustrated by Matthew Jackson
Columba Press, 2023
The establishment of St Brigid’s feast day as a February bank holiday in Ireland has spawned a plethora of publications to help cater for the ensuing surge of interest in the cult of the saint. Saint Brigid & Other Amazing Irish Women, the debut book by Lorraine Mulholland, lavishly, even hauntingly illustrated by Matthew Jackson marks a fine addition to the new St Brigid library. The book itself is almost a library as it brings together the stories of twenty-three Irish female saints and concludes with a further list of 343 names of female saints in a concluding chapter entitled; Wonder Women. Written in a lively and engaging style with a clear eye towards younger and young at heart readers the author provides a colourful and spellbinding series of faith stories and legends each with carefully researched detail that manages to pluck these extraordinary women from the mists and myths of ancient Christian Ireland to retell their stories of courage and faith. In addition to the exceptional illustrations each chapter provides a section of fascinating ‘Did you know?’ facts and figures about the saint whose story has been explored. Did you know for example that it was actually St Attracta who finally banished those snakes from our shores? This rich compendium should bring lasting enjoyment to all who love and seek to maintain that unique cultural and spiritual legacy that stems from the era of saints and scholars.
Reviewer: Paul Clayton-Lean
FINDING GOD IN THE MESS
Meditations for Mindful Living
by Brendan McManus SJ & Jim Deeds
Messenger Publications, 2023
In an age of anxiety such as our own, when each week seems to provide more evidence for imminent catastrophe through war, climate disaster or fractured human relations, it is important never to lose heart. The preface of the new, revised Finding God in the Mess states; It is essential to believe that there is something positive in everything, that God is in it somewhere, and that we can get through it with help. The collection of meditations, reflective questions and practical suggestions that follow are underpinned by just such a positive philosophy. This award winning book is both reflective tool for prayer and a map for finding a way through the ‘disarray, confusion and occasional chaos of life.
Reveiwer: Paul Clayton-Lea
A Life of Faith, Community and Football
by Dr Michael Connolly
Argyll Publications, 2022
Hardback • pp. 228 • stg£20.00
In Walfrid: A Life of Faith, Community and Football, Dr Michael Connolly explores the life and times of Brother Walfrid (1840-1915), a Marist Brother born Andrew Kerins in Ballymote, Co. Sligo and his work with the poor in Glasgow and in London’s East End in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
He came to Glasgow in 1855 as a fifteen-year-old boy, having travelled aboard a coal boat from Sligo with a childhood friend. The Marist Brothers too arrived in Glasgow in 1855. Andrew Kerins was one of the countless survivors of the catastrophe of the Great Hunger, An Gorta Mór in Ireland, which claimed the lives of over one million Irish people and as a young teenager and later as a Marist Brother, he embodied a concern for others.
He founded Glasgow Celtic in 1887 and was a man of faith and community who bonded with the Irish Catholic diaspora in Scotland. The book’s title is a good indicator of the focus and ministry of Brother Walfrid. He appealed for funds to support his ‘Poor Children Dinner Tables’, which he set up in 1885 to provide hot meals to children for the symbolic fee of a penny. He encouraged engagement with education, which he saw as the key to unlocking the chains of poverty.
Dr. Michael Connolly took ten years to pursue his project and portray a historical and social context to the mission of Brother Walfrid, as well as presenting the reader with an insight into his character and good-humoured personality. The detailed research for this book has been sourced from personal letters, many newspaper articles, Marist, Glasgow and Westminster Diocesan archive documents and census data from the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. The book traces Brother Walfrid’s experience, motivation and achievements in a lovely read. This is best summed up in the motto of the Marist Brothers (ignoti et quasi occulti in hoc mundo) – ‘Unknown and invisible in this world’. A statue of Brother Walfrid stands outside Celtic Park includes the Marist Motto. The fact that Brother Walfride was christened Andrew and then goes from Sligo to Scotland seems prophetic, as St. Andrew is Scotland’s Patron Saint since 1320. In an age of the football celebrity, this book is a heartening and humbling read about a humanitarian, educationalist, and advocate for all those who are in need, who integrated faith, friendship and football – as a gospel witness of service and outreach.
Reveiwer: John Cullen