Back on the mainland at the end of our three day pilgrimage
I made the long journey with the
Presentation Family, most of them young people, to Lough Derg at the weekend.
They came from Cork, Limerick, Kerry, Dublin, Sligo, Donegal and Tyrone. Lough Derg is the sacred Sanctuary of St
Patrick in Co. Donegal, a place where he often spent time in the fifth
century. It’s a special place, rich in
prayer and faith which has been calling pilgrims for over a thousand years as
it once called St. Patrick himself.
This traditional three-day pilgrimage is
famous throughout the world for its penitential nature. Pilgrims spend
their time on the island barefoot and stay awake in vigil all night on the day
of arrival. They also fast from food each day (except for the Lough Derg ‘meal’
of toast (without butter), bread, and tea/coffee (without milk). Lough Derg
soup was available throughout which consisted of hot water, salt and
The pilgrimage was demanding but very
rewarding. I experienced great solitude, a wonderful peace and I gave thanks
for the strength to undertake the pilgrimage and for the many blessings of my
journey as a Presentation Brother. The pilgrimage helped me step back from my
life, take stock and look again at the direction my life is taking. It was also
a time to come closer to God through prayer and reflection. The feeling of
inner peace I experienced, no words can explain.
I was so glad I came to this serene and
sacred island, made holy by the prayers of millions of pilgrims
over the centuries and continues to provide a safe haven for rest,
reflection and renewal to all who wish to in the words of Mark 6:31 “Come away
to a quiet place and rest a while”.
P.S. Further reflections will follow in the