Re-Treat Days with Nóirín Ní Riain in 2017

April 1st 2017             DEATH AND DYING

‘Death is a time of great homecoming and there is no need to be afraid.I (John O’Donohue)

Today we will explore the sometimes frightening yet ultimate reality of death; our own inevitable death and the coping with the loss of loved ones. My great friend, John O’Donohue, harvested a great wisdom around death and dying and I will be sharing that today. We will listen to and learn from the very rich repertoire of death-lore in Scripture poetry, song, and the Irish tradition. Over the afternoon, we will walk to the beautiful monastic graveyard of Glenstal Abbey to share a prayer for all our own beloved who have gone before us.



The work of this day will be to celebrate not only the learn from the great wisdom and beauty of the “Apostle of Apostles”, as she is named in early Christian writings,  but we will celebrate OUR own names too.  This wonderful friend and follower of Christ was keenly aware of the power of the sound of her name; you remember when Jesus called her by name and she had that sudden miraculous acquaintance with him in the garden. These times, we have forgotten how to serve our name – which is our identity in the world – with reverence and respect.  Our fore-parents in Scripture were keenly aware of the magic, the welcoming freedom which valuing our name completely facilitates. Through story, song and prayer, we will be fully present to ourselves, each other and the Divine through the grace of names and naming. ‘The glory of God is every person fully alive.’ (St Irenaeus)


September 9th 2017 BIRTHDAYS

One day after the feast of the Birth of Mary (September 8th), we will celebrate our own birthdays and our ageing.  Poet Robert Frost rightly remarked in a poem that ‘the afternoon knows what the morning never suspected’. We will ask ourselves the beautiful question of what it means to each one of us to age with panache? For all of us, that potentially wonderful creative, afternoon time of later life is either coming or here already, so today, as we celebrate our birth days, we will take away new perspectives, revisions and resolutions on this precious time which can often be one of great physiological and psychological ‘meltdown’ and crisis. Yet we need not give in to physical limitations but regard them as challenges rather than defeats. As we age, we have choices; we can shrink from life or choose to be creative, to embrace change and to live life to its fullest particularly in our relationship with the Divine.



On this feast of two great apostles and heart-friends, we will reflect on all aspects of the inner heart. We will celebrate our own heart matters both physically and spiritually. We all know what it means to be heart-broken, to laugh heartily, to be brave-hearted and so on and through this day, we will acknowledge and nourish all of these. More importantly, we will re-vitalise our heart relationship with the Trinity and Mary, the Mother of God, which can so easily be dimmed, wounded and dejected. Glenstal is the perfect place to carry out such excavations and spiritual transplants!

‘May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.’ (John O’Donohue)



The firm favourite so early booking is highly recommended! This season of Advent truly calls us to be fully alive and alert for the birth of Christ in our own lives. How difficult it is to really realise this marvellous fact of our existence midst the noise and business of the world around us. This day will quieten your heart and soul and prepare a listening space for each one of us this Advent and Christmastime; a space where God can truly speak the words which our hearts are longing to hear. This day-long experience will open the gateway to a totally new and fresh perspectives through listening on all levels: the spirituality, the sounds, the stories of these twin seasons of Advent and Christmas. We will take a new look at the old chestnut Christmas carols, which have become habitual and mundane over the years.Christ stands as a sign of hope and love in our lives and this day of withdrawal from the hustle and bustle of commercialism, will draw back the veils of mist to reveal the true, real and lasting experience of the birth of Christ in our lives. This day is also a great, novel gift experience for a loved one.


Early booking is strongly advised as places are limited and demand great.


Contact:  086 8137040

COST:           €85 (including substantial lunch and morning and afternoon tea/coffee & scones)

10.00 am       Registration and tea/coffee

5.30 pm          Conclusion and farewells


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