Top menu

Homily of Bishop William Crean – Centenary Celebration of the death of Mother Marie Adele Garnier – 15th June 2024

Centenary Celebration of the death of Mother Marie Adele Garnier

St. Benedict’s Priory,

The Mount, Cobh

15th June 2024



My friends,


In the book of Ecclesiasticus we read,


“Let us praise illustrious people

Our ancestors in their successive generations.

In their descendants there remains

a rich inheritance born of them

Their bodies have been buried in peace

and their name lives on for all generations.

The peoples will proclaim their wisdom,

The assembly will celebrate their praises.”

Ecclesiasticus 44:1


This is the reality of our assembly today on the Centenary of the death of Mother Foundress Marie Adele Garnier.  We celebrate with gratitude ‘the rich inheritance born of her lifelong faith and sacrifice dedicated to devotion to the Sacred Heart while calling others to join her in that path to worship in spirit and in truth.’


In the recent newsletter you may have read the account of the bedside Vigil that Mother Agnes kept as Mother Marie Adele slipped gently from this world to her long hoped for eternal peace and rest in the Lord she worshiped with such great love.  It’s a scene of great tenderness marked by a deep personal and spiritual accompaniment on her final journey.  It exudes an exceptional serenity and calm.  As we live so shall we surrender.


In this centenary remembering we give thanks to God for the witness and wisdom of his servant Marie Adele.  We also reflect on the ways of Gods providence in all our lives.  Legacy and memory are closely intertwined.  Over time connections and spiritual insight are transmitted.  In the long experience of Christian living, prayer and reflection there are individual women and men who by virtue of their extraordinary personal dedication aligned with a capacity to reflect on their experience of life in the spirit manage to fashion a unique spiritual path which serves a guide for others.  It is akin to the gospel story of one finding the ‘pearl of great price’.  When one finds it all else pales into insignificance.  It is all that matters – it becomes the passion ‘round which all else finds focus.  So it was for Mother Marie Adele. However, the nature of that passion means that it impels to be shared.  The sisters know better than I, the story of that sharing both its joys and afflictions.  That is indeed the rich inheritance born of her life.


Succeeding generations inspired by that passionate love of God in the adoration of the Sacred Heart naturally in their turn seek to share the joy of possessing the pearl of great price.  Hence, the invitation of Mother Catherine and the community to share in this grateful remembering of Mother Marie Adele by unveiling a shrine dedicated to her memory.


The great insight and inspiration of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart was to focus on the humanity of Jesus through reference to the heart as the seat of emotion and feeling.

“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us”

John 1:


The human experience is lived by way of the heart.  The church in its wisdom approved statues and pictures to enable us to give expression to the faith, hope, and love within us.  We know these are not the object pf our prayer – rather they awaken and animate our desire to pray.  In the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians (2nd reading). “That we might have the strength to grasp the breadth and the length, the height and the depth” of the mystery of God in which our lives are continually unfolded.  The Shrine dedicated to Mother Marie Adele today will God willing be such an instrument of grace for these who pause and pray.


Its significant and symbolic that it is very close to the well dedicated to the story of todays Gospel of the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well.  I quote from the Newsletter “The dialogue which ensued, in which Our Lord tenderly led the woman to her conversion and revealed to her that true worshippers will worship in Spirit and in Truth was very dear to Mothers heart, and it is very fitting that her image will be looking across at the well and the miniature garden surrounding it.”


Today is a call to prayer – a call to honour and treasure the invisible yet tangible presence of the Divine in all things. Our world is deeply troubled – war and conflict of monstrous cruelty cry out for resolution and reconciliation.  The mission of this sacred place and community here at prayer is a deeply counter cultural witness to the need for contemplation and prayer in the face of so much turmoil and suffering.


May our prayer be that of true worship in Spirit and in Truth. (John 4:24)


    Upcoming Events

Website by Web Design Cork by Egg.