In the morning, we had a short talk by Fr. Michael, a former missionary to Kenya who retired to Glendalough to spend the last twenty years helping pilgrims enter into the spirit of the place. He gave a moving testimony of his own experience of Celtic spirituality and recent developments in Irish Catholicism. As he pointed out, this beautiful, rugged setting speaks of the deep natural roots of Irish spirituality. He also spoke of St. Kevin’s heroic Christian life, the many legends about him and his companions, and the Christian community in the monastery, all of which spoke to the sacred radiance ofs this special place. Though most of the site is in ruins today, the round tower (one of the best preserved in Ireland) and several small churches are quite impressive to visit. Among the many graves (the whole site later became a cemetery), along the roads, around the lakes, high in the mountains or deep in the forest, people coming from different spiritual experiences can find here an atmosphere of contemplation and reverence, a feeling of greatness and intimacy altogether, conducive to prayer, encountering the Creator and Saviour.
Many of us spent the day in calm contemplation, spiritual reading and silent walks. Some climbed the surrounding mountains, while others preferred to remain in the valley and among the ruins…
In the afternoon, we met for Mass, presided by Fr. Michael in a small domestic chapel, with an atmosphere much like that of the first simple home church.
That evening, we had a delicious meal, thanks to Jacques, and much time for free and ranging conversation (alas, without Elias …)