17 August 2021

Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
80, Terenure College Chapel

The chapel at Terenure College … a Carmelite-run school in Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

Before the day gets busy, I am taking a little time this morning for prayer, reflection and reading. Each morning in the time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

My theme this week is churches in the Carmelite tradition, and my photographs this morning (17 August 2021) are from the chapel in Terenure College, Dublin.

Inside the chapel at Terenure College, Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

The lands of Terenure were granted to Hugo Barnewall in 1215 by King John. The Barnewall family continued to live there until 1652, when the lands were confiscated by Cromwell and leased to Major Elliott. Terenure then had a castle and six dwellings, including a mill, and a population of 20.

After the restoration, Charles II granted Terenure, Kimmage and the Broads to Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnel. Major Joseph Deane bought purchased these lands from Talbot in 1671 for £4,000. He converted the castle into a mansion and his family held the property until 1789, when much of the lands were sold to Abraham Wilkinson.

Robert Shaw came to Dublin leased Terenure House from Joseph Deane in 1785. Shaw rebuilt part of the house, now the front portion of Terenure College. The other great house in Terenure, on the opposite side of the road, is Bushy Park. The Shaw family also inherited neighbouring Bushy Park House through marriage.

The Shaws sold Terenure House ca 1806 to Frederick Bourne, the proprietor of a stagecoach business. The Bournes lived at Terenure House until 1857, and during their time the estate was known for the magnificent landscaping and planting of the grounds and the extent and content of the glasshouses.

Terenure House was bought by the Carmelite Order in 1860 and opened as a secondary school for boys. From time to time, extensions were added and the college chapel was built in 1958, aligned on a north-south axis.

The chapel is attached to the Carmelite Priory on the college grounds. For 63 years, it has provided a setting and a backdrop for the spiritual life of the school community, as well as the local community and the extended Carmelite family and friends.

For many it is the venue for family celebrations, Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and graduations. For others, it is a place for the Sunday Eucharist or a place for quiet, personal prayer, and a place of welcome and spiritual refreshment.

Recent renovations realigned the liturgical axis of the church, placing the altar in the centre of the west (liturgical north) wall and creating side chapels in the former side aisles.

The two panels on entering the chapel at the former west end are by Evie Hone and predate the present chapel: The Annunciation (1940) and the Virgin Mary (1949).

Two windows by Phyllis Burke in the side chapels depict the Carmelites as Missionaries (2007-2008) and the Carmelites as Educationalists (2007-2008).

The stained-glass windows throughout the chapel, mainly the work of Frances Biggs, tell much of the Carmelite story and are greatly admired. Their vibrant colours are greatly admired. There is also an example of the work of Evie Hone in the Chapel.

The other windows are mainly by Frances Biggs and tell much of the Carmelite story and depict: Blessed Titus Brandsma (1986), Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1987), Saint John of the Cross (1988), Saint Teresa of Avila (1988), the Annunciation to Saint Joseph (ca 1989-2000), Elijah, Prophet of Carmel (ca 1989-2000), Mary in the Carmelite Tradition (ca 1989-2000), and Albert, Lawgiver of Carmel (ca 2000-2001).

I hope to return to the Frances Biggs windows later this week.

The altar in the chapel at Terenure College (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Matthew 19: 23-30 (NRSVA):

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’

27 Then Peter said in reply, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’ 28 Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’

‘The Annunciation’ by Evie Hone in Terenure College Chapel (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (17 August 2021) invites us to pray:

Let us pray for the people of India, as they celebrate their independence this week.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

‘Saint Teresa of Avila’ … one of a series of windows of Carmelite saints by Frances Biggs (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Terenure House … the original Shaw family house is incorporated into the buildings of Terenure College (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

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