Are you interested in joining an international
community at Mt Sion, Ireland?
...letter from Br Michael Godfrey
I write to you in behalf of the Directors of a Company known
as the Edmund Rice International Heritage Centres Limited.
One of the early decisions of the current CLT of the Christian
Brothers was to take up the issue of the re-development of
Mt Sion, Waterford as a joint enterprise with the Presentation
Brothers. Accordingly a company was set up - Edmund Rice International
Heritage Centres Limited. Seven Members of the Company were
appointed [Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers] and
then nine Directors [Christian Brothers, Presentation Brothers,
lay men and women] have been appointed to move the development
Declan Power [Christian Brother] has been appointed as the
Project Manager with Walter Hurley [Presentation Brother]
as his assistant. A Visioning Day, to which around forty people
were invited, was held at Waterford and from that a Vision
Statement for Mt Sion was developed. At a later date another
visioning day was held, this time in an attempt to integrate
the four recognised heritage centres - Callan, Cork, North
Richmond St and Waterford. Currently the Directors are preparing
an Architect's Brief and we expect to follow that in the near
future with the appointment of an Architect as well as a Project
Designer. The initial task of the Architect will be to develop
a Master Plan and the Project Designer will be responsible
for the setting up of the heritage area.
The Vision of the Directors for Mt Sion is as follows:
Our vision is that the sacred space of Mount Sion will incarnate
in a way relevant to today's world, the enduring values of
the gospel and of the Edmund Rice tradition.
Our vision is that Mount Sion will be a place relevant to
the lives and search of people today, particularly the young
and in a special way those who are poor and marginalized.
Our vision is the radical transformation of Mount Sion.
On this holy ground we hope to have:
- an international community which gathers around the Eucharist
and the Word of God, fosters hospitality and promotes a
spirituality of faith doing justice. This community will
attempt to model emerging forms of religious life and a
new expression of Brotherhood and Sisterhood for the third
- a centre which provides a place of welcome and promotes
a spirituality appropriate to the needs of searching young
people today. We will welcome people of diverse faiths and
of no faith. ? a centre which provides a place of welcome
and a range of educational/social services for young people
and others who experience poverty and marginalisation.
- a vibrant heritage centre which tells the Edmund Rice
Story and the story of the Brothers today in a way that
challenges people to engage with the mission of Edmund Rice
in our contemporary world.
- a place of pilgrimage and prayer that continues to be
relevant and meaningful to the people of Waterford, and
is enriched by its multi-cultural character and global outlook.
- a centre promoting peace, reconciliation and justice.
There are two issues which we, as Directors, wish to publicise
to the Christian Brothers' and Presentation Brothers' Congregations
as well as to the Edmund Rice Network and Presentation Family
It is envisaged that an International community will be established
on site in order to make the vision a reality. One of the
first steps in the development of the Master Plan will be
to make provision for a community to live on the second floor
of the main building. The Directors believe that a vibrant
community infused with the charism of Edmund Rice and capable
of taking good initiatives on site is of the essence for the
development of the Centre. The community initially will be
small in number e.g. four people, and we are open to the community
being comprised of Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers
from various parts of the Congregations as well as members
of the Edmund Rice Network. A commitment of a few years will
be sought from incoming community members eg three years.
In time we see the possibilities of others joining the community
for limited periods eg three months to six months.
The international community will need to be comprised of
people who are energetic and creative, capable of forming
a lively community and of contributing to the operation of
the Centre. There will be obvious needs in the areas of management,
hospitality, running in-service educational programs, retreats,
liturgies, personal development programs, programs of outreach
to the marginalised, tour conducting, etc. We will be encouraging
the Centre's use by other groups for courses and in services,
as much of the property will be suitable for this type of
activity. The Centre is not solely focussed on the Heritage
Centre but that feature of the site will contribute to the
attraction and atmosphere of the place.
Given progress on the initial steps, we expect to be ready
to commence the new community during 2005. Any Brothers or
members of the Edmund Rice Network or Presentation Family
who are interested in the possibility of joining the community
are asked to make contact with the relevant Province/Region
Leader, who in turn is asked to contact either the Chairperson
of Directors [Michael Godfrey] or one of the Deputy Chairpersons
[John Burke, cfc, Martin Kenneally fpm]. We would like to
have initial responses by May 15th, which will enable us to
give further consideration to the formation of this community
at our meeting on May 26th.
Where feasible, we will be asking Provinces/Regions to provide
financial support, according to the norms of the Province,
for any Brother who takes up a position in the community.
From previous appeals and the generous support of some Provinces,
a fund has already been established which in effect holds
about Euro one million. Given building prices in Ireland,
this amount will be useful but by no means will it enable
substantial redevelopment to take place. The Directors have
set up a Fund Raising committee, chaired by Michael Reynolds
of Dublin to seek sources of funding and to make approaches
to groups and individuals. Given prior demands on funding
for African formation and the Bicentennial Fund, the CLT of
the Christian Brothers is not disposed to asking Provinces
to provide funding for the development. Nevertheless if any
Province did wish to support the project which will extend
over a few years, then any contribution would be most welcome
in enabling the project to become a reality.
At the same time the Fund Raising Committee will be asking
Provinces/Regions to investigate the possibilities of seeking
funding from schools or individuals or groups of supporters.
We do intend to publish a brochure outlining the development
and seeking support for the various phases of the development.
In time the Fund Raising Committee will make direct approaches
to Provinces and Regions to seek your support and guidance
in trying to ensure that the vision for Mt Sion becomes a
the vision a reality
Many Brothers and members of the Edmund Rice Network and
Presentation Family are strongly attracted to Mt Sion as a
meaningful place and a spiritual home. More and more people
are finding in the spirituality of Edmund Rice the inspiration
to live the Gospel values of justice and liberation in a practical
way. The energy which is behind the development of Mt Sion
flows from a strong belief that the person and spirit of Edmund
Rice is very relevant for our times and that the story and
spirit needs to be retained and promoted.The Directors of
the project welcome your support for the steps which are being
With best wishes,
Yours in Blessed Edmund,
Chair of Directors
February 24, 2004