Finding God’s many gifts in the rush of everyday life

Finding God’s many gifts in the rush of everyday life Eddie Gilmore, the new face of L’Arche, Callan.

The Universe Provides: Finding Miracles and Inspiration in Unexpected Places, by Eddie Gilmore

(Darton, Longman & Todd, £9.99)

At the beginning of December and the coming of the Christmas season, Eddie Gilmore had only been a couple of weeks in Ireland. He came here to work at An Síol, the L’Arche residence down in Callan in Co. Kilkenny.

This book of his experiences will give the readers a brilliant idea of the lifetime’s experiences elsewhere that he brings with him, undoubtedly for the great benefit of our society.

Earlier he had some 28 years of experience with L’Arche, but since 2017 he has been the chief executive officer of the Irish Chaplaincy which supports Irish people, often in a low social ebb across the United Kingdom. This would always have been a difficult position given human nature at times, but it has been, I suspect, even more difficult in the benighted state of that country in the last few decades.


But Eddie Gilmour is not concerned at heart with politics, but with human beings, in all their extraordinary variety. The ravages of Covid-19 are still only passing off in so many places, but they hit many very hard.

And still do; most of us will know people still affected by ‘long Covid’, as the lingering blight of the post-infective state has come to be called.

This memoir is developed around his own adventures and memories strung across all the weeks of the year with all its different stages in natural life and celebration. Celebration indeed might be taken as the keynote of this warm-hearted and deeply sensitive book.

Anyone with their own experience of the Irish diaspora, Irish prisoners in British jails, and older members of that community who left home in the 1940s and 50s in search of a better life that proved as hard to find for many as it did at home.

The loneliness of many of those isolated from both family in Ireland and the alien society around them is often heartbreaking.


A reviewer can hardly better the words of Cardinal Vincent Nichols in praise of this book: “From a faith-filled perspective, and drawing on his own personal, musical and professional experience, Eddie shows us how important it is to have hope in our lives and to be connected with each other and the world in which we live.

“In this way, we can glimpse the miracles and opportunities that are in our midst and use them for the benefit of all – the universe does indeed provide!”

That at least is what the blurb says, but it does not tell the half of it. Once begun this book which proceeds by foot, bus, train, and bicycle, moves all over the place. Eddie Gilmore is a man of tremendous verve and vitality, humour and humanity that there is hardly a pause before page 192.

There it ends, or I suspect pauses for a moment before going on again. Clearly Callan has acquired a tremendous force of nature who, one suspects, will get great things done before he has even unpacked.


Though the pace is tremendous all the way, he and those he meets in person or on Zoom manage to impart a great deal of wisdom, some culled from other cultures, as much as from experience.

Jonathan Sacks is quoted, “We must mend the world one day at a time, one act at a time,” and “A good act, every healing gesture, lights a candle in the dark world.”

But these acts do not have to be grand. Above this passage is an anecdote about a visit to the Irish centre decades before, where one Pat Muldoon saw Eddie’s eyes light up at the sight of his bowl of steaming Irish porridge – Eddie breakfasts often on little more than a bowl of rice Korean style – left it at his place with the simple comment, “Be nice to yourself”.

I hope that the Gilmores in their new Irish home will be able to plant and raise in Callan yet another Japanese style garden. But up to now the universe has been very generous to him in what it has provided.

(An Síol, 42 West Street, Callan, Co. Kilkenny R95 E628, can also be contacted on email at; or tel. +353 (0) 567725628.)