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Faithful Friend,

For over 900 hundred years, from around 600 AD to the suppression of the monasteries in 1540, Glendalough was a major centre of learning and one of the four main places of pilgrimage in Ireland. Then all Church property and the Church lands in Glendalough were confiscated.

For the next 310 years Catholics did not even have a place to celebrate Mass anywhere near Glendalough - though they often did so at risk to their own lives, including sometimes even in the ruins of the ancient buildings.

In 1847 they were given a site for a new Church, but it is over 2 km down the road from the Monastic City which itself is almost 2 km down from St. Kevin's Cell. Worse still the site was a short distance off the road from Laragh to Glendalough, and so the Church is not even visible from the road.

Today more people than ever are travelling to Glendalough. It is crammed with visitors daily all year around, but the vast majority are going there as tourists. The ancient buildings are owned by the Office of Public Works so one isn't free to hold ceremonies in them without special permission.

I have been going to Glendalough as a pilgrim for over thirty years. Indeed I've visited it more often than I've visited any other place on earth for any reason whatever.

I have often sat in St. Kevin's Cell and elsewhere in Glendalough, and grieved for the fact that to this day, there is no place in the upper valley, either near St. Kevin's Cell and Reefert Church at the Upper Lake or near the ancient Monastic City at the Lower Lake, for a person to go in to pray:- no adoration chapel, no prayer centre, and no place to promote the Christian message to the countless thousands of people who visit Glendalough each year.

I have grieved for how the Church has missed opportunity after opportunity to obtain for itself the ground for such a centre. Instead everything that has come up for sale has been bought either by the Office of Public Works or by business people. I have prayed again and again that a place would be bought for the Lord, but always felt that that was someone else's calling.

In the January 2010 issue of the Diary I wrote of how I intended to spend several days in prayer in Glendalough over Christmas arising from the Murphy report into abuse in the Dublin Diocese.

The first thing I saw on arriving was the "For Sale" sign on what was originally the Caretaker's Cottage 100 yards from the entrance to the ancient Monastic City.

I immediately felt that it had to be bought for the Lord.

I began to enquire locally to see if anyone was interested in doing so, being willing to offer them every spare cent I had to assist with the purchase.

Alas I was discover that, while a previous parish priest of Glendalough had desired to obtain this very cottage, and while, in the past, a committee had existed devoted to seeking to obtain land for a Christian centre in the upper valley, today there was no one in a position to step forward.

It is my experience that when the Lord puts it into your heart to pray that someone will step forward to do something, the person He often calls and anoints to do it is yourself.

I found myself in the position of absolutely believing that this little cottage should be bought for the Lord, but found that there was nobody interested and able to do so at this time.

So I decided to see if I could buy the little cottage, not for myself but for the Lord. But when I contacted the auctioneers, I got a shock.

The asking price was 400,000 euro, and there was already a bid of 300,000 euro on it! And there isn't even a plot of land with the cottage! If it was located anywhere else it would struggle to bring 100,000 euro.

I prayed about it all over Christmas. The price was frightening, but I still felt that it had to be bought for the Lord. Another opportunity to buy something suitable for the Lord in the upper valley might not present itself ever again.

After days of intense prayer, I decided to make a bid of 350,000 euro in the hope that that would prove sufficient. But the other person then went to 375,000 euro.

I was now entering 'walking on water' territory, but I went to the 400,000 euro. By this stage I was really grieving, fearing that it would go utterly beyond me.

In deep prayer, I cried, "Lord, it will break my heart if this cannot be bought for You." Like a shot the inner voice strongly replied, "It will break My heart too."

Thankfully the following day the auctioneer phoned back to say that the other person had withdrawn and that my bid of 400,000 euro was accepted.

400,000 euro is an awful lot of money, but my hope is that this will be a little centre for the Lord until the end of time. In 400 years time, please God it will be seen to have been money well spent!

My sole income in recent years is from the sale of the Curate's Diary, the booklets and CDs, and the offerings for my speaking engagements. Thankfully in recent years I have been doing well thanks to your loyalty and generous support.

My own life is dedicated to living as simply as possible. I have been asking the Lord for a number of years how I was to use my surplus funds. I did give large sums to Aid to Church in Need, but I felt I was to retain the rest for when the Lord would show me what to use it for. Indeed every time I turned to the Lord and asked Him what to do with my surplus, I found myself reminded of the period before I purchased the House of Mission; how I then had a surplus also, just enough to put me in a reasonable position to buy the House of Mission without money becoming a worry for me.

So I waited, though regularly entrusting my surplus to the Lord for Him to use for His kingdom. I didn't realise however that not merely would He find use for it, but that I would find myself going cap in hand to the bank looking for a whole lot more. There is a level of stepping out in faith involved.

But it is thanks to your loyalty and generosity to me that I am in a realistic position to take this step in faith.

It is a remarkable thing that arising 100% from the profits coming from the sale of my books, booklets and CDs, and the Curate's Diary, (all at rock bottom prices,) together with the offerings received at my speaking engagements, we have been able to do what several others have tried and failed to do over the years; that after 470 years there can be a little centre for the Lord in the Upper Valley of Glendalough.

I use the word "we" deliberately, because all I've done is taken your generosity to me and used it for the Lord - and also shown it to my bank manager when seeking the very substantial loan.

Every person who has promoted or even bought the Diary or my books and CDs, or invited me for an event in their parish, has played a role in this.

Meanwhile I am not keeping the cottage in my own name, but am handing it over to a Charitable Trust for the Lord. To this end "God's Cottage Trust" is being set up.

Since the above article was written, not thanks to the great generosity of many people, not merely has God's Cottage been paid for, but we spend a further 130,000 euro converting it into a Prayer Centre with a repository and Christian Bookshop attached. It was opened on
St. Patrick's Day 2011.

Since then we have taken further major steps in faith, including the purchase of the field and sawmill yard behind God's Cottage.

And now, Christmas 2018, we are preparing to make another major step, with the building of an ecumenical prayer centre and a patron's coffee/tea dock.

Your support would be deeply appreciated


Yours, in Christ,

Thaddeus Doyle (Rev)




 

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