Novena - Feast of St Joseph the Worker

Novena - Feast of St Joseph the Worker
Saturday, 1 May 2021

 

This year we invite you, our friends, to pray with us during the nine days of the Novena to St Joseph the Worker, from Thursday, 22 April until Saturday, 1 May.

We pray in thanksgiving for the happy memories we all have of Drumalis and the key role played by St Joseph throughout the history of the Cross and Passion Congregation and Drumalis in particular.  We look forward with anticipation to the day when the doors can re-open to welcome you once more through the intercession of St Joseph.

Each of the images portrayed will be ones you are familiar with from the house and we hope that they will invoke treasured memories for you.

Day One – Thursday, 22 April 

St Joseph the Worker

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St Joseph the Worker is a favourite saint of the Passionist Sisters and indeed of Drumalis.  It was on his Feast Day on the 19 March that the first Mass was celebrated in the Oratory, the former Billiard Room. The first Sisters having trundled up the hill with their beds folded only a few weeks before when they surreptitiously moved in, in 1930. Saint Joseph was honoured again with a statue in the new building in 2007. 

 

This is not a new statue however.  It belonged to the old Retreat Centre.  The women who came there at the height of the Troubles were so entranced by the glass of the building that they wanted to raise money to buy “pansar” – bullet-proof glass to protect it but Sr Margaret Mary O’Neill, who was in charge of Drumalis at the time, suggested instead that they put their trust in St Joseph who was traditionally charged with protecting the Congregation and she duly went shopping for a statue of him in Italy and this one is the result. 

 

He protected the Old House so well that some of the glass that the women worried about survived to become a central feature in the new one.

Let us Pray

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take these important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

Day Two – Friday, 23 April  

St Joseph the Father

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Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

This sculpture shows playfulness, intimacy and love in a special relationship between father and son.

The link between the two is expressed by the infant Jesus touching Joseph’s beard in a child-like inquisitive way.

This is a statue that intrigues and delights.  We are aware of the many people who sit reflecting on it during times of retreat in Drumalis.

This gentle touch reminds us of the love shown in families throughout the world and we pray especially today for families who have been adversely affected over the past year by Covid-19 though bereavement, illness and unemployment.  We also pray for families in war-torn and poverty-stricken regions of the world.

We remember the prayer said by Pope Francis on the 150th anniversary of the Proclamation of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church on 8 December 2020:  

“Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.

Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself as a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.”

Day Three – Saturday, 24 April 

The Two Annunciations

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Prints of the work by the late artist Sieger Koder are to be found throughout Drumalis.  They are like hidden gems waiting to be discovered. 

The image that we have chosen today is his piece entitled “Annunciation to Joseph.”  The Angel appears to Mary and God speaks to Joseph in a dream. 

Visitors to Drumalis often recount how God has spoken to them through these images.  It can often be the smallest details in the paintings through which they hear the voice of God in their lives. 

Reflect for a few moments on how you hear God speak to you in your life today…

Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?” -
Denise Levertov


God has a dream for each one of us.  God has planted desires in the depth of our hearts, that expand our hearts and open new possibilities in our lives.  God’s dream for us is a passion within us that will allow for no substitute, and this dream is a restlessness that will find rest only in God.
Discovering this dream will give shape and meaning to our lives and lead us to contribute to God’s hopes and desires for the world, which we call the kingdom of God.  The challenge of our lives is to discover, name and embrace God’s dream for us
.”  -
Gerald M Fagan SJ

Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

Day Four – Sunday, 25 April  

St Joseph – The Carpenter

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The work of a carpenter can be elaborate or very simple but there is a beauty in every piece.  There is no better illustration of this than in Drumalis.  From the breathtaking marquetry by George Walton in the Heritage House to the tactile Stations of the Cross by John Haugh along the Elizabeth Prout corridor to the little wooden crosses in each of the bedrooms by Stephen Stewart, crafted from the pews of the old retreat chapel.  Each piece has been lovingly and carefully skilled by hand by its creator.

This reminds us that each one of us, regardless of our differences, are all special in God’s eyes.  Every morning we need to whisper this message to our anxious hearts:  “Do not be afraid for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name.  You are mine.  When you take on the swirling rapids, as I hope you will:  you will not drown.  When you walk through the leaping flames, as one day you must, you will not be harmed.  You are the apple of my eye.  You are so very precious in my sight.  I have carved your name in the palms of my hand.  Your name is “My Delight”, “My Beloved”, “My Betrothed.”” 
(Isaiah)

Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

Day Five – Monday, 26 April

St Joseph – A Life of Devotion

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The Willow Tree nativity scene is on display at Drumalis each Christmas time.  Many people are familiar with these pieces and have various versions in their own homes which evoke precious memories to them.  So too does the Nativity set at Drumalis.  When it was bought in 2006, Fr Jim O’Donoghue mhm blessed it.  Fr Jim was an integral part of the Parish Retreat Team for many years at Drumalis.   He sadly lost his life to Covid-19 last year but we treasure the memories we have of him.  As one Parish Retreat Promoter said at the time: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Fr Jim who salved my weary heart and soul at many Parish Retreats and lightened my mood with his mischievous humour, wonderful stories and way with words delivered in that so endearing voice and accent: his living made the world a better place and for me part of his essence will always permeate the grounds and rooms of Drumalis.”

 

Fr Jim quietly devoted his life to others through his ministry with the Mill Hill missionaries both at home and abroad.  As too did Joseph – his was a life of quiet devotion.

We pray now for those who devote their lives to ministering to others throughout the world and we remember the many Sisters who have been committed to retreat ministry in Drumalis.

Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

Day Six – Tuesday, 27 April

St Joseph – the Holy Family, the Refugee Family

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This nativity scene was gifted to Drumalis by Joe McBurney, who brought it back from one of his many trips to Zambia, where he undertakes voluntary work to help improve the lives of people there. 

When we see the Holy Family, we are reminded of "the anguish of persecution" that they faced when fleeing to Egypt.

Pope Francis echoed this in 2018: "Little Jesus reminds us that half of today's refugees in the world are children, blameless victims of human injustice."

Drumalis too has served as place of refuge for those in need over the years.  During the Troubles, it provided a safe place for many families, regardless of faith or background. 

We remember today the suffering that continues throughout the world, for example, the thousands of homeless in war-torn Yemen and Iraq and pray for families and many suffering children there.  We also pray for those who are risking their lives to seek refuge in other countries.  This week we pray in particular for the suffering in India, ravaged by Covid-19 and the desperation of families seeking medical help.

Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

Day Seven – Wednesday, 28 April   

The Lily, the Flower of St Joseph

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The flower associated with St Joseph is the lily.  Lilies symbolize integrity and indicate that Saint Joseph was the earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose purity is represented by the chaste white lily.  Three flowers are used to represent the Blessed Trinity.

As you come up the drive at Drumalis, white Calla lilies greet you as you reach the top.  The grounds here are as important as the house itself.  The flowers, the trees, the lawns – these habitats for wildlife -  highlight the importance of the natural world and the commitment of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion to care for it.  Ecology is central to the work of the Centre.  Each February, the spring weekend conference “Reinhabiting the Earth” takes place focussing on a different theme each year.  Sr Margaret Rose and Sr Anne Harnett’s annual summer creation spirituality retreat attracts growing numbers each year.

At reception, visitors will see the “Caring for God’s Creation” plaque awarded to Drumalis for its commitment to ecology by Eco Congregation Ireland in 2017.  We are also indebted to Fr Perry Gildea CM for over fifty framed photographs of the Wildflowers of the Glens of Antrim, which hang in each of the bedrooms.  These photographs are another doorway “into thanks and the silence in which another voice may speak.” (Mary Oliver – Praying)

The earth is in crisis and at Drumalis we are doing our small part to help educate others and protect this sacred space.

Let us join together in Pope Francis’ Prayer for our Earth from Laudato Si’:

“All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.  You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.  Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.  Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.”

Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

Day Eight – Thursday, 29 April 

St Joseph – A Silent Supporter

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The much admired nativity scene in the reception foyer was donated by a local Associate of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion.  Joseph gazes down upon Mary and the infant Jesus – quietly supporting his wife and son from the very beginning and throughout their lives.

The nativity reminds us of the ongoing support of our benefactors, who quietly give to Drumalis.  This has ensured the centre’s survival to the present day.  Now, more than ever, however, we rely on the support of our Friends in this time of pandemic.

 

This support comes in many forms – from the financial support of donors and centre users to the volunteers who selflessly give hours of their free time, to our loyal Parish Retreat Promoters and Retreatants, to those who remember Drumalis in their prayers.  We remember you and thank you all:

"May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."
(Numbers 6:24-26)

Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

Day Nine – Friday, 30 April 

St Joseph – A Prayerful Life

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Today’s image of St Joseph is taken from the stained glass windows in the Oratory in the Heritage House.  The stained glass was commissioned by the Sisters of the Cross and Passion when they chose the room to be their Oratory in the 1930s. 

This prayerful space is much removed from its former use as the Billiard Room in the era of the Smiley Family.  However, we are blessed with the vestiges of the Victorian craftsmanship in the intricate woodwork and the magnificent laylight depicting the rose, the shamrock and the thistle.  This has recently been preserved for future generations by a team of dedicated craftsmen under the watchful eye of architect Michael Hegarty.

The Oratory holds a very special place in the hearts of so many visitors.  From the Parish Retreatants celebrating Mass, the Choral Singing workshops praising God in song, the groups of all denominations in worship, to the solitary person in prayer, to the lighting of a candle in remembrance, the Oratory is many things to many people.

The Oratory captures the essence of the Drumalis Vision Statement:

 

“Drumalis is a place of welcome,
an oasis on the journey of life.

A living community where all

Experience the power of God’s love and compassion

Discover and value their gifts

Seek to be healers in a divided world

Grow in their relationship with God and all creation

We draw life and strength from sharing and prayer.”

Let us now pray that Drumalis will continue to be a place of growth, healing, praise, prayer and solace as we gradually emerge from lockdown and look forward to the possibility of re-opening once more.

Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.

Feast of St Joseph the Worker   

Saturday, 1 May 2021

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Today, as we celebrate the Feast Day of St Joseph the Worker, this final image of the saint may appear rather unusual given that we find him asleep rather than at work.

However, in recent times, it has become a very popular image, thanks largely to the devotion of Pope Francis.

It has been difficult to keep the statue in stock at the shop such is the demand for it.  A statue has found a home here too, thanks to the generosity of the Redemptorist Community in Clonard.

In 2015, whilst in the Philippines,  Pope Francis said:


“I would also like to tell you something very personal.  I have a great love for St Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength.  On my table I have a statue of Saint Joseph sleeping.  Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church.  Yes, we know that he can do that.  So when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath St Joseph so that he can dream about it.  In other words, I tell him: “pray for this problem””

Pope Francis also said:

“Joseph’s rest revealed God’s will to him.  In this moment of rest in the Lord, as we pause from our many daily obligations and activities, God is also speaking to us.

But like Saint Joseph, once we have heard God’s voice, we must rise from our slumber; we must get up and act.”


As we come to the end of this Novena, we hope that it has been a time of quiet contemplation and reflection for you,
a time of prayer and remembrance. 

We pray that you have heard God’s voice speak to you during these days and that you are ready to take on the challenges which await you in your own life - and that we too, at Drumalis, are ready to take on the challenges which lie ahead as we prepare to re-open the doors to welcome you once more.

 

Let us Pray
 

O Glorious Saint Joseph,
you who have power to render possible things that are for us impossible, come to our aid in our present troubles. 

Take our important and difficult affairs under your particular protection that they may end happily.

O dear Saint Joseph, we place all our confidence in you. 
Let it not be said that we would invoke you in vain, and since you are so powerful with Jesus and Mary, show that your goodness equals your power.