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Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory

Commissary’s July/August Letter

by The Venerable Ruth Elmes

written on 8th June, prior to our new Bishop’s appointment on June 23rd

I had been asked to preach at the graduation for the Leaving Certificate students in Colaiste Bhride in Carnew on their theme “Destination Unknown”.  It made me reflect on my own hopes and dreams leaving school.  For me the path was straightforward – no big ask or expectation –

  • Become a nurse (an ambition since the age of 6)
  • Get married
  • Live in a nice house
  • Have a nice car and drive along with my elbow out the window listening to a favourite track someday

I considered these to be reasonable and from time to time they sprang to mind as the journey of life progressed with all its ups and downs.

New chapter in Diocesan life

It was in this context that I think of the Diocesan quest for a new bishop. Those on the electoral panel have considered the wishes of the people they represent and are in the process of discerning the movement of the Holy Spirit in this process. The list of the ideal traits we seek in a new Shepherd for Cashel Ferns and Ossory have been circulated BUT……. In the way that my hopes and dreams came to pass in a different way than I could ever have thought (thank goodness in some respects), this new chapter in diocesan life may look different too.

If we get the decisive leader we seek, there may be tough decisions made. If our new bishop is courageous, this may move us in a direction we had not envisioned. If ecologically practical and sensitive, are we willing to follow in a way that may well disturb “the way we have always done” things? He or she may be exactly what we thought we “ordered” but we need to be ready for the God driven delightfully unexpected and surprising way we will be moved…

How did my life work out in my own hopes and expectations?

Become a nurse

I was for a long number of years. I enjoyed my time and would have been horrified if, at the age of eighteen, I knew I would swap my uniform to include a clerical collar.

Get married. 

I did (twice!!). I am a widow – two amazing children instead of the three I thought I would have

Live in a nice house.

I do, its lovely, bunnies and deer in the garden lots of space for one person and a small dog BUT as its attached to my job – I don’t own it

Have a nice car and drive along with my elbow out the window listening to a favourite track.

OH I DID!  I suddenly realised I had achieved this one summer day but never thought the dream would be fulfilled with a teething baby screaming in a car seat in the back.

Life is funny like that.