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Glór Na Mara Update

7 July 2017



Entrance To The Ecology Site

We marked ten years here on the wild Atlantic edge at Glór na Mara in Bundoran last year (2016)! Back in 2006 as we began putting our roots down here our vision was to re-connect with the Earth and to explore our lifestyle and spirituality within the context of the stunning new insights of the Sacred Story of the unfolding Universe and the interconnectedness of the whole community of life of the natural world. The call has been to widen our circle of compassion to include the natural world in all its splendour. We discovered it was both an outer and an inner spiritual soul journey.

The practical aspect of the initiative was to transform a small corner of land into an organic community garden and allotments run by the local people. Organic growing is a more sustainable and holistic way of relating to the land, connecting people with the miracle of topsoil which is so fragile and precious on the planet and also to connect to the life support systems on which we depend – the soil, sun, water and air.   At this crucial time of environmental crisis and climate change organic growing is a way of absorbing carbon into the soil thus reducing our carbon footprint.

Over the ten years a large number of local people have worked here in the garden and been trained by Ingrid, a horticulturalist, and together they have achieved a lot, transforming the land here at Glór Na Mara into an incredibly abundant garden.  They have provided local restaurants with salad bags and also received their own weekly share of nutritious organic vegetables.

                                          Donegal Scene Bundoran

Realising that our wellbeing and health is inextricably linked to our planet’s ecological health, and aware of the massive loss of various species in the natural world, from the beginning we believed passionately in promoting biodiversity for the health of the whole community of life. Biodiversity underpins the processes that make life possible. Aware that bees pollinate a large percentage of our food, more recently, in order to protect the endangered honey bee, we have acquired two beehives supported by a bee and butterfly garden which has nectar-producing flowers and shrubs on which bees and adult butterflies can forage.

                                         Natures Way

Honey Bees

Hundreds of local school children have frequently been coming here to the garden over the years, using it as an outdoor classroom to learn about the wonders of the natural world. People have come from all parts of Ireland to learn about the overall running of the garden at Glór na Mara. The secret of its flourishing is of course the Earth itself and also support from the local people, which has always been really strong and it has also strengthened community ties.

Our educational and awareness raising outreach to various groups nationally for the past ten years has included days on the Sacred Story of our Evolving Universe, Well-being and the Healing of the Earth, Sustainable Living, Creation Spirituality, Climate Change, Laudato Si, A New Planetary Vision and retreat work on exploring both the inner and the outer journey and the need for inner spiritual sustainability with the awareness that all is interconnected. Everything around us, including work, relationships and the environment, is a reflection of our inner lives.  All is one! When we listen deeply with our hearts the planet is transformed.

Over the years, we discovered that entering into the mystical experience of the Story of the Universe, was about journeying deeper and deeper into the profound mystery of the heart of the Divine. Our spiritual journey here has led us to see that God speaks to us in many and diverse ways, ‘Ask the animals, and they will teach you; or birds of the air and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of God has done this.’ Job 12:7-10.

Everything is sacred and the Divine pervades all. The mystic Mechtild of Magdeburg puts it very well when she says, ‘The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and knew I saw, all things in God and God in all things.’ From the contemplative stance of mysticism we approach the new Earth consciousness and the journey into the Universe from a heart/soul space, discovering that the natural world can be both our teacher and healer when we open our hearts to the healing and solace in Nature. "We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness."  Pope Francis Laudato Si (par. 226)

God heals us through the Earth and it is profoundly moving to be aware that there is healing everywhere around us if we open to its invitation, deepening our communion with the natural world. This awareness is in the book of Revelations, ‘….the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.’ Rev. 22:2 and in Wisdom 7:17-22. It’s about meeting heart to heart with the natural world, calling for a compassionate seeing into the essence of everything which is interconnected in the heart of the Divine.  All of this enriches us with a new and deeper awareness of the God who is the source of all life and energy, then allowing our insights to shape our way of being in the world. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or secondary aspect of our Christian experience’. Laudato Si  #217. 

We call on God’s light and the strength to help us on the important journey ahead in these critical times. Pope Francis Laudato Si #245
                                          Natural Beauty All Round

Mary Kate Hagan rsm
Northern Province

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