The Holy Hill Community came to Skreen in 1995 at the invitation of Bishop Thomas Finnegan of the Killala Diocese. The Mercy sisters were no longer able to staff their convent in Skreen, and Bishop Finnegan thought it would be good place for a contemplative community because it was such a beautiful place. He wanted a community of hermits because the first monks in Ireland were hermits who lived in community.
The Celtic Faith rested in
- An appreciation of God’s Presence in all of ordinary life.
- A love of silence and solitude
- A love of nature and the physical environment.
- A love of learning.
- A yearning to explore the unknown and to travel.
- A valuing of kinship and of “soul friendship”
Our life has many similarities to that of the early Irish hermits. We value simplicity, beauty and the joys of nature. We also value the intellectual life as the Irish monks did. According to Maire de Poor, Irish monasteries were ‘porous.’ Besides the core group of vowed hermits, there were many lay people who lived near the monastery and participated in the life there. People would come to monasteries for periods of time in order to study with the monks, and would then go back to the world transformed by their time there. There were often both men and women living at the monastery.
The Prayer of St. Columba
Let me bless almighty God,
whose power extends over sea and land,
whose angels watch over all.
Let me study sacred books to calm my soul
I pray for peace
kneeling at heaven’s gates.
Let me do my daily work,
gathering seaweed, catching fish,
giving food to the poor.
Let me say my daily prayers,
sometimes chanting, sometimes quiet,
always thanking God.
Delightful it is to live
on a peaceful isle, in a quiet cell,
serving the King of kings.