April 13th, 2011
Dalai Lama’s Historic Visit.
The Dalai Lama was invited to Ireland in mid-April 2011 by three charities, Children in Crossfire of which he is patron, Spunout.ie and Afri. The visit to Kildare arose because of the close connection that exists between Afri and the Brigidine Sisters, who have been instrumental in having Kildare, the site of St.Brigid’s monastery, recognized as one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites.
His Holiness visited Kildare Wednesday, April 13th. The Organisations wanted to give as many as possible, the opportunity to see and hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama and also wished the Dalai Lama to experience some of Ireland’s spiritual and cultural heritage during his brief visit
He arrived in the Market Square in Kildare town where he was welcomed with music and song. Gifts were presented by the Brigidine Sisters and some local children.
The Dalai Lama was presented with the Brigid Flame by Srs. Mary Minehan and Phil O’Shea, Solas Bhride Community, in recognition of his work for peace and his life long commitment to non-violence.
The Dalai Lama experienced the beauty of St. Brigid’s Cathedral and spent some time in meditation with local religious leaders
His Holiness then travelled by car to St. Brigid’s Church where he addressed those assembled on the theme of Compassion.
Kildare bid farewell to the Dalai Lama and wished him well on his pilgrim journey with a Celtic blessing sung by harpist Fionnuala Gill.
Fr. Tom O’Connor, St. Patrick’s Missionary Society reflects on his experience of meeting and praying with the Dalai Lama in St. Brigid’s Cathedral.
“For me it was a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life. We waited with great expectation for nearly an hour as our distinguished visitor eventually made his way to this ancient place of worship. He looked resplendent in his saffron and maroon robes. Each of us was introduced to him by Sr. Eileen Deegan, CSB. I was a little nervous as I waited my turn. “It is a great privilege to meet you, Your Holiness. Welcome to Kildare.” He gently and lovingly took my hand and smiled. Then he bowed and said, “Thank you. I immediately had the sense of being in the presence of someone very special with a presence and energy that reached out in love, humility, respect and compassion.