December 14, 2002

Spirituality / Formation Centre - Coolock

As we all know, Coolock convent has a very special place in the history of Mercy. One could say that it was the cradle of the Congregation, the formation place of Catherine McAuley in her critical adult years. The whole Mercy family, worldwide, looks on Coolock rather like they do on Baggot Street. It will always be a place of inspiration, of deep sentiment, and of pride to us Mercies. It's heritage dimension attracts hundreds of Mercy sisters and Associates every year.

Since Coolock is in our Province, we have an obligation to care for it and develop it's potential. Also, in our recent discernment on the needs of initial formation we felt that Coolock would be the best place in which to locate novices for their spiritual year.

We have talked to the community there about our ideas and needs in this regard. In the coming year we hope to make progress along the lines of:

  • upgrading and developing the heritage aspect;
  • providing space for a charism based spirituality centre;
  • locating the canonical year members there (when and if any);
  • seeking planning permission for some extra accomodation

The fact that there is already a well known spirituality centre in the basement adds to the atmosphere and direction of the House. Should it happen that there were no canonical year novices, then space might be available for sisters who wished to spend time in retreat or study of Catherine McAuley and her charism.

These are exciting possibilities for the future of Coolock. Of course the community will continue to live there, but we will also need a few spaces for the canonical year programme. Elizabeth McCaver, who was so involved with the renewal of Baggot Street, will move in to focus on the heritage aspect.

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