Launch of ‘Brides of Christ’ book

Dr Colmán Ó Clabaigh OSB pictured with Dr Bronagh Ann McShane, M. Máire Hickey OSB and Dr Tracy Collins.

On 6 March 2024, the Benedictine Community at Kylemore Abbey hosted a one-day symposium on the history of nuns and female monasticism, to mark the launch of Brides of Christ: Women and Monasticism in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland (Four Courts Press, 2023).

Organised in association with the University of Notre Dame Kylemore Abbey Global Centre, over 75 guests attended the programme, travelling from all parts of Ireland for this unique gathering.

Throughout the long history of Irish monasticism, the experience of women monastics has, until recently, been relatively sidelined. A desire to redress this inspired the decision to dedicate the fifth Glenstal History Conference in 2021 to exploring the various ways in which women responded to the monastic and ascetic vocation in medieval and early modern Ireland, with the publication Brides of Christ bringing together the contributions made at that conference. This work highlights the extraordinary Irish women who found creative and dynamic ways to pursue their calling as ‘Brides of Christ’ between the fifth and the seventeenth centuries, often in the face of tremendous difficulties and challenges.

Last week’s Symposium, entitled Keepers of the Sacred Flame, drew speakers from Ireland and the US, including Dr Tracy Collins of the National Monuments Service; Sr Faustina Greally of the Poor Clares in Galway, Dr Bronagh Ann McShane of Trinity College Dublin; Professor Amy Mulligan of the University of Notre Dame; Dr Colmán Ó Clabaigh OSB of Glenstal Abbey, and Professor Deirdre Raftery of University College Dublin.

Following the Symposium, M. Máire Hickey OSB, former abbess of Kylemore Abbey launched Brides of Christ: Women and Monasticism in Medieval and Early Modern Ireland. The book’s editors include Glenstal Abbey’s Br Colmán Ó Clabaigh OSB and Fr Martin Browne OSB.

To purchase a copy of the book please visit Glenstal’s online shop here.

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