Ursuline – Blog

I shall wear purple…

Jenny Joseph’s poem Warning – When I am an Old Woman I shall wear Purple is a hymn to the unpredictability of the older person. It is both ridiculous and absurd, but I love it! Though I may not spend my money on “summer gloves and satin sandals”, it challenges me to live life to the full. Here is a short extract:

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple

with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

and satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired

and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

and run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

and learn to spit……

It is true that ageing brings diminishment. A few years ago, I walked around the sand dunes in Tramore and back or ran up into the Comeragh mountains in the twinkling of an eye! Now, I am happy enough to walk up and down the promenade or take a short jaunt into town! The challenge is to be grateful for what is and not to bemoan the energetic days!

Appreciation often comes too late and is, in fact, one of the rich gifts of ageing. Yes, our movements are slower, but I now have time to “smell the roses”………appreciate the natural beauty all around me – a daisy struggling to survive through a crack in the pavement – a robin singing its heart out outside my window  – the intricate designs on shells along the seashore  – the laughter of children along the way …………………………….ah, yes, ageing has given me the gift of seeing all that I missed throughout the years.

We are called not to fold in on ourselves –  on the contrary, we are called to live life to the full – to  resist the temptation to opt out of life by avoiding risks  and  refusing opportunities to celebrate life  because they upset our  routine and  our rigid timetables. So I am called to be more positive and more interested in the lives of those around me by showing them love. In return, they will be good to me in so far as I am alive and loving. Love is like a magnet! Nobody likes a grouch and only pure duty will motivate when self-absorption and negativity are a constant..

I want to live my days to the full  as Jesus wishes  for me: “ I  have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 – no matter what age I am or how I am. The Divine Artist is still busy shaping me and those around me.

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the fire was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith “A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half;

Trust God: see all, nor be afraid”.

     Robert Browning

                   B O’ S.            

I blew the house…

This day two-weeks, my mood being grey, I opened the door of the fridge in search of solace. A hard-boiled egg be-eyed me banefully. “Last chance!” it seemed to say. “You know my best-before date looooms.”

And so, I gazed, then took it out – cold and eggy – in my hand. I decided to give it a softening warm-up. One quick wipe of a wet cloth, then into a cup of cold water went my egg, and into the microwave went the whole. As a penny-pinching afterthought, a tea-bag was added. “Two for the price of one”, I thought, satisfied, and clocked the whole in: “two minutes”. “One for the climate! I thought, self-satisfied.

Twenty seconds deep into deep-green parsley-chopping for the sandwich the whole MW shebang exploded thunderous.  After a shocked minute of figuring-out, it dawned. “Of Course, Máire! You were ALways told that eggs into microwaves just don’t go. You dope!” The little orange light on the front panel had gone bleakly out. It felt like a final defeat for hubris.

Nonetheless, I continued to breathe, to gather any wits I had left about me, and to assess the damage. The inside of the MW was a scatteration of cracked fragments of shell, bits of yellow yoke, lumps of egg-white, and limp tea-coloured water. And so, out came the wet cloths, and the dry cloths, then the wringing and the slinging of bits into their appropriate containers.  In the event, I still had enough intact remnants to finish my planned sandwich, I made my cup of tea in the traditional fashion, and sat myself down to watch the six-o-clock News. Breathing out my stress, I pushed the remote’s ON button, and I waited. I pushed deeper. And waited again. And nothing happened. Black!

Then the awful possibility dawned:  Had I actually managed to fuse the whole house?  A quick scoot to a nearby switch; a quick assessment of the alarm-lights. My worst fears confirmed: not a single watt of electricity entering/activating any device in my home. I was, functionally,back in the Stone Age.

It was a Sunday. I did not know where the fuse-box lived in this newish house, where I was a tenant these 18 months. I did not even know if there still existed such a contraption as a fuse-box in this digital era. I whispered a prayer to the King of the Ages. I wandered off to where I knew there was a panel with a door on an external wall. The hint of electrics and extravagance of wires I recognized there all suggested that, indeed, there was not a single spark of life in the system. I whispered a prayer to the Lord who let there be Light at the very beginning, and reached toward my heart  for acceptance.

I returned indoors. In the porch-area, high on the wall to the left, another candidate for fuse-box status. I could see an array of ten switches – all pointing upwards, with the sole exception of one, which was larger and browner  than the others. I suspected this eye-catching switch was the key to my konundrum. But I was not at all sure that in forcing it into alignment with its mates I would not electrocute myself.  So, I gazed on it sadly for a minute or two, then went back to the blank television screen, and finished my sandwich.

It was a Sunday evening – a day of rest. And I would just have to put up with my dilemma, and see could I learn something useful about non-fossil-fuel existence/living. And then! Oh then! Didn’t I remember that I had an acquaintance of the male persuasion, who knew how to do pretty much everything that needed doing in a house. Better yet, as a fellow Donegal-ite, I felt I might have an innings.

I rang. He was inDeed in the country. Yes! He was, in fact, in Cork. Well, actually, he happened, just now, to be at home! I stated my dilemma. Danny was graciousness itself. He would be over in ten. And, so he was! He looked at my Microwave, and shook his head. “I can probably get the electricity back” her said. “But I have experience broad enough to know that your MW is banjaxed.”

Danny surveyed the external wall, and said nothing. He looked up at the fuse-box and commented on the one mis-aligned switch. “I’ll give it a go,” he said sighed, apparently undaunted by any fear of electrocution. He reached up, flicked the switch, and looked over at my television. The tiny light shone red again! I raced around, hardly believing my good fortune. Switches? Working! Alarm? Red  and green lights shining!  I flung my arms around my surprised knight-in-shining-armour and took out the notes I had prepared ahead of time, to pay him for services rendered. “No, no, No! Not at all. Put that back!”

“Well,” I said. “All right so! I’m making Blackberry jam tomorrow.  And purple Elderberry syrup at the weekend. I’ll bring up you some of each to your house to say “Thank you.” He nodded. “And I’ll pay UNICEF the money I planned to pay you.” It did not feel right that I might be the only needy one to profit from this encounter.

We chatted a while, then off he went to have his tea at home.

Relieved and happy, I sought my learnings: I resolved to not again risk the egg-in-microwave combination.  I whispered a grateful “Thank you” to the Lord of Lights. I gave myself a slice of fruit cake, and went out to do the dishes and put manners on the kitchen.  The microwave was pulled well out onto the worktop, from where Danny sought to survey its back-wall/panel. It looked sad and empty and lightless. I touched it fondly, in gratitude for its long service. I thought, though, that it might prove too heavy for me to lug solo  over to the kitchen table, on the Stage One of its journey to the civic dump. I pushed it back instead in toward its familiar location, looked at it one final time,  kindly, and decided  that, despite  Danny’s prophecy, and my own dopiness,  it was worth a last-chance,. So, tentatively, I plugged it in, the dim blue light of hope flickering only faintly in my heart. I whispered another prayer to the God of waves.  Then, Lo! A steady green glow appeared on the front panel of the MV – a glow whose significance I knew well – a glow that pronounced Danny blessedly wrong, and myself more forgiven than I was entitled to.

I prayed a fourth time: a sweet Thank you, knowing too that UNICEF’s children would profit even more from my messing, Danny’s generosity, and all the day’s miniscule wonders. As evening gathered in, it found my heart was in rainbow country – smiling.

We praise thee, God, and cry Glory to thy name

For all variety: bright, dark, sweet, sour, high, low, large, small.

For each day’s gift, its mystery and its hope;

For the season that surrounds us: blue air, bright sun, refreshing rain and laughter running free;

For the ministries of healing, the body mended, and the heart made glad;

And for thyself, Sophia God, strong mother, tender mercy, our ever-pardon and our peace,

We Praise Thee, God, and cry Glory to thy name.

Maire O’Donohoe OSU


For as long as I can remember I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by the concept of time….

  • How old our universe is.
  • How we humans are new comers to our planet.
  • How short and precious our life-span is on earth.
  • Our connection and interdependence with everything.
  • God and time.
  • The mystery of it all.

  Reading psalm 90 recently set me thinking of all the references there are in the Bible about life and time…..

O God, you have been our shelter from one generation to the next.

Before the mountains were formed or the earth or the world brought forth,

From everlasting to everlasting you are God.

A few more examples…..

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….

                                                                                 Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day.

                                                                                                Peter 3 :8-9

Now is the time of God’s favour.

                                                             2 Cor. 6:2

He has made everything beautiful in its own time.


For I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you hope and a future.


  Lots of food for thought and reflection.

P.S. from Dr. Seuss………

How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon.

So let us live life to the full as best we can in our time.

Maureen OSU


Blessings – What are they? How do they come? What do they do for us? To bless is to acknowledge the sacredness that is all around us. To bless anything of creation, be this a person or an object, is to acknowledge the touch of the Creator upon that person or object.

Wherever we place our feet, wherever we are, can be a blessing, if we are aware of the inherent sacredness of the beauty of that place. What might that place be? Perhaps the heart of another person; a fluffy kitten playing with   a ball of fluff; the beauty of a scene in nature…for a blessing to communicate joy and beauty to us, we need to be attentive.

Many people have blessed our lives. Most of them are probably unaware of how they have done this. They have blessed us by their smiles, their loving responses, their affirmation, their concern, their care………Once in a while, maybe they blessed us  with special words and actions.

One such person who blessed my life in this way was May. May was a Kerry woman. I was just beginning to teach. Vulnerability and insecurity were looming very large for me.  I needed strength and encouragement. May was very supportive. I don’t remember the words she said. I only remember the profound sense of gratitude that came over me. But her goodness was God’s gift to me. I often thought of her as I went to class.

You may be at a place in your life where you can easily resonate with blessings, of you may be in a place where you wonder if you have ever blessed been blessed.

Wherever we are, the invitation is to pause and believe in the power of blessings.

Memory is a precious gift. Indeed, our ability to remember our blessings fills our hearts with gratitude. Without memory, we would be unable to savour the good things that happened to us and for us. We would be unable to be healed from past painful situations. Memory can bless us or haunt us, depending on how we receive it and deal with it.

Each one of us has a huge store of memories. As we know only too well, some are not very pleasant and every now and then they are calling us to move on and dwell on the positive and wonderful memories with which we are abundantly blessed.

B. O’S

Celtic Praise

Celtic people had a natural capacity for rejoicing, so it is not surprising that praise, celebration and thanksgiving was the foundation of their relationship with God. This twelfth century poem expresses that desire to praise God in perfect form:

My speech – may it praise You without flaw; my heart love You, King of Heaven and earth.

My speech – may it praise You without flaw; make it easy for me Great Lord to do You all service and adore You.

My speech – may it praise You without flaw; Father of all affection, hear my poems and my speech.

As you go through my days in these dark times, I‘m opening my heart to happily observe that there are reasons for praise everywhere I look:

  • A calf standing in the green grass, surveying all around him
  • A few yellow feathers in the tail of a chaffinch
  • The sun casting soft shadows on the hills
  • A mighty oak tree adorning the countryside
  • The freshness of the air after a thunder storm
  • The community of mushrooms that grew in the night
  • Or some of the myriad things that do me good: a forgiving word, an understanding smile, a warm greeting, a piece of music………………

What about you?

As we give thanks for the gift of light and life each day, we sense the goodness of being able to praise and feel deeply. And so, in the spirit of the poet, Kahil Gibran we say: I arise with a winged heart and give praise and thanks for another day of loving.

                                                                    B. O’ S