Letting light through the cracks

Fr Robin Ryan CP
Fr Robin Ryan CP Fr Robin Ryan CP

FINDING hopefulness in life, never mind radical hopefulness of the sort rooted in the Passion story, is no small task in contemporary society, but that is exactly what a Summer Institute at Tobar Mhuire Retreat Centre hopes to help with next month.

Leonard Cohen observed, "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in", and the institute will take up that theme as it explores the meaning of radical hopefulness in our lives.

The main speakers will be Fr Robin Ryan, a Passionist from Chicago Theological Union, and the Rev Ruth Patterson, a Presbyterian minister who leads Restoration Ministries.

"In order to speak about radical hopefulness, one also has to address the mystery of suffering, which is often the greatest obstacle to hope," says Fr Ryan.

"We need to speak about how we tell the story of Calvary in order to conceive of how we understand the resurrection and its effects on our life of faith."

Located in Crossgar, Tobar Mhuire is a remarkably tranquil and scenic place of retreat and has, with justification, been described as a "sacred space in the heart of Co Down".

The Passionist Congregation refurbished the retreat centre around six years ago, and today it is "a place of welcome and renewal for people of all faith backgrounds and those still searching"

The summer institute has become an annual event and aims to give those taking part time and space for reflection and an opportunity to "listen to the wisdom of others and to share their stories in a welcoming, learning community".

::The 'Radical Hopefulness' Summer Institute is at Tobar Mhuire from July 1 to 3. Further information by telephoning 028 4483 0242, emailing and at