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Corcomroe Abbey ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,

I am delighted to share I have a third poetry collection being published on May 9th from Paraclete Press titled Love Holds You: Poems and Devotions for Times of Uncertainty

This poem was inspired by one of my favorite monastic sites near Galway. Corcomroe Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in the 12th century and is a magnificent structure. There are dozens of these “ruins” within an hour’s drive from where we live and each inspires a profound connection to ancient wisdom. I always feel the presence of the prayers that thousands have prayed within these walls and imagine the stone holding these longings. 

Read this poem slowly and then watch the poem video and see if the images illuminate the poem more for you in being able to see the building itself. If the images distract, close your eyes and listen to me reciting the poem to you. 


Corcomroe Abbey 

If you pause
you can hear the whispered longings and wailings 
carried across this threshold, the desperate cries 
for healing, the shouts of praise, the stones are keepers 
of these prayers, and to stand there is to feel 
your heart both leap and break all at once.

The roof is gone which means this place 
is no longer shielded from the elements but holds 
its mouth up to catch raindrops on the tongue,
sunlight pours down and fills the space with gold.
The cawing of rooks nesting echoes off the walls, 
nettles grow in corners, dandelions in cracks, 
and you see this place is not a ruin, is not empty, 
and you offer up a prayer, not certain who is listening, 
but knowing this prayer does not live alone, but finds a place 
nestled among birds and spirits and growing things. 


After reading and listening to the poem, allow some time for reflection: 

Have you ever stood in a “ruin” but felt the presence of pilgrims and prayers in the stones? 

What is the prayer you want to whisper in that place?

If you want to practice some breath prayer here is a suggestion: 

Breathe in: My prayers

Breathe out: are held by Love

You might close with an affirmation: 

I offer my prayers and know they are held by angels and ancestors, saints and wild things.

You can pre-order your copy of Love Holds You: Poems and Devotions for Times of Uncertainty. Join us for our book launch on May 8th!

(Paraclete is offering a 20% discount for pre-orders when you use the code LoveHoldsYou at their website).

Join Simon tomorrow for his sacred chant service, Therese on Wednesday for Centering Prayer, and Melinda on Thursday for her yoga practice.

With great and growing love,


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Poem Video by Luke and Jake Morgan

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