The 2017 Pilgrimage to Ireland

Sr Helen Clarke rsc, pilgrimage leader, with the 2017 pilgrims at the Congregational Heritage Centre in Harold’s Cross, Dublin

On 21 May, twenty four pilgrims, including Fr Darryl Mackie and Sr Helen Clarke rsc, gathered in Dublin to begin their journey around sacred sites that were part of the Mary Aikenhead story.

Pilgrims were drawn from across Mary Aikenhead Ministries: some from education and some from health care; one staff member from the Sisters of Charity congregational office also joined the pilgrimage as did Sr Maureen Heffernan (as a Sister of Charity).

In addition, this year we were honoured to have Bishop Terry Brady, auxiliary Bishop of Sydney, as a pilgrim. Bishop Terry and Father Darryl shared leadership of the liturgies at various sites.

The pilgrimage took us from Dublin, to Cork, to Galway and Foxford, then back to Dublin, and finally to Glendalough for two reflective days.


Sr Helen Clarke rsc, pilgrimage leader, and Fr Darryl Mackie, pilgrimage chaplain, and a ‘friend’ at the Sanctuary, a Sisters of Charity ministry in Dublin


A highlight of the pilgrimage was meeting the Irish Sisters of Charity in different places and accepting their hospitality. Sr Mary Christian, Congregational Leader, hosted our opening liturgy and dinner at Sandymount, Dublin, and the Sisters of Charity crossed our paths throughout the entire pilgrimage.

Each day, pilgrims were encouraged to journal and then reflect on three aspects of the pilgrimage, “what did I learn today?”, “what touched me today?” and “what will I take back to my ministry?” – head, heart, hands!

The pilgrimage ended on 30 May when the pilgrims were delivered back to Dublin Airport, after nine days together in the country that was home to Mary Aikenhead and the first Sisters of Charity who came to Australia.

Sr Helen Clarke rsc
Sr Helen Clarke rsc

Trustee of Mary Aikenhead Ministries

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