The monastic year revealed

The monastic year revealed
Glenstal Abbey through the seasons

with photographs by Valerie O’Sullivan, edited by Colman Ó Clabaigh OSB (Columba Books, €24.99)

Through pictures and text this beautiful book captures the life of one of Ireland’s most famous abbeys.

At the heart of it all is an annual round of worship, prayer and reflection. But this is also keyed to all the work which the monks and their staff do, teaching honey-making, book-binding , farming, providing spiritual guidance to outsiders. The focus is on the nature of faith, but life in all its rich variety is never neglected.

The text provides glimpses of all these aspects of Glenstal life, and there are even some very nice recipes from the kitchens. Altogether a treat of a book, from which many unfamiliar with the life it portrays will learn a great deal, for it provides many, many insights into what a life in religion actually involves and means.

Fr Mark Patrick Hederman, well known himself as an author, is in charge of the library.

“Our library,” he says, “built at the turn of the 21st Century, housing lodgers from as far back as the 16th Century, harnesses the wisdom from the ages to best provide identification, preservation, and dissemination of books: the noble and time-honour task of the monastic library.”

Here we can see how the kind of work done at St Mary Abbey, mentioned elsewhere on these pages, continues. P.C.