We had a wonderful day on July 10th 2015, as we travelled in the footsteps of St. Columban during our Pilgrimage to Myshall, Co. Carlow. We connected with the places where Columbanus lived, worked and prayed during his early manhood and where at the foothills of Mount Leinster tradition holds that he was born. We were amazed to find such devotion and interest in Columban, like a new awakening around him in Ireland today.
The pilgrimage was attended by the Columban Sisters, Columban Fathers,Lay Missionaries, Columban co- workers and representatives from St. Columbans Parish Miltown Co Dublin attended.
We boarded the bus at our front door at 9.15 am, thirty five of us. Sisters on home leave were delighted to be part of the pilgrimage. The bus was two weeks old, modern and comfortable. The journey through Wicklow to Carlow to Myshall was glorious. We had a panoramic view of the countryside from our seats, herds of cattle resting after their breakfasts and little flocks of sheep nestling in the valleys. Fields of ripening corn of differing hues of gold yellow and green spread across the landscape like a patchwork quilt, a sight to behold.
We arrived in Myshall at 11.15 am where we were expected and given a great welcome. The Columban Fathers bus had arrived a little before us.
Mass was at 11.30. We filled the small church. The celebrant was Fr.Tom O’Byrne P.P assisted by several Columbans. We got a great reception and Fr O’Byrne was well versed in Columban history and spirituality. Anne Ryan carried a relic of St. Columban in procession to the altar. Prayers from the sermons of Columban featured throughout the mass. Ann Gray gave the homily, a brief account of Columban’s life and missionary call, connecting it to our missionary call today of bringing the light into darkness. Fr. Raleigh organized a presentation of a banner of St. Columban to the parish by Lucia So and Laureli a lay Filipina missionary.
Already there was a banner in the sanctuary of the young Columban leaving home, by a Myshall parishioner, Edel Fenlon, a graduate of The National College of Art and Design. The Bishop, a nephew of the late Mick Balffe SSC sent his regards, he was on pilgrimage in Lough Derg. The choir was rich and beautiful.
We all moved to the parish Hall where refreshments were provided by the parish.
Afterwards we were taken on a walking tour of Myshall,to the ruined church of St Finian, founder of the celebrated monastery of Clonard, Co Meath where Columban is believed to have studied.
Next we visited The Adelaide memorial church of Ireland described as an architectural gem. It was designed as a miniature of Salisbury cathedral. We were told that a great relationship has always existed between the two traditions. Before leaving we prayed again in Columbans words and sang Psalm 23.
We all boarded our respective bus again and headed for Mount Lienster. Many of us didn’t know about this beautiful mountain landscape, 2610 feet high. They say that on a clear day you can see 8 counties from its summit. The more energetic of us climbed the mountain, others went as far as they were able. We pondered Columban, his mission and ours as we touched his native soil. Before leaving we were led by Sean McDonagh SSC in a prayer of thanksgiving for everything and everyone, beseeching Columban to guide us always.
We boarded the bus again and returned to the parish hall. Apparently they couldn’t find a restaurant to seat 92 of us so the restaurant catered for us in the parish hall. We had a delicious meal and were very hungry.
We arrived home to Magheramore at 7.30 pm. We had a wonderful day.