Walking the path of the Willow”
…. the road to renewable energy at St Patrick’s Kiltegan
Continuing our exploration in journeying towards an ecological awakening, Toni and Helena from AMRI travelled to the beautiful home of St. Patrick’s Missionary Society, just outside of the village of Kiltegan in County Wicklow.

Responding to Pope Francis’ “challenge to protect our common home” encapsulated in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si, the Fathers at St. Patrick’s Kiltegan tried to find ways of producing energy from renewable sources. They began by installing a wind turbine, solar panels and geo-thermal central heating. Recognising that more could be done, in 2018, they planted 13 acres of willow, followed by another 21 acres two years later for biomass fuel to replace their dependence on oil as central heating.

Their story is presented in a podcast and a photo blog, below. 

In the podcast, Fr. Seamus O’Neill and Fr. Pat Murphy take us on an ecological walk that reflects on how the Kiltegan Fathers have responded to the challenge of living Laudato Si:
Listen to the Podcast
Please share this podcast with others. You can copy and paste the following link into an email for sharing:

(Above) Alphabet Avenue: supporting the Afri Celtic Alphabet Tree Planting Project. The trees along the ‘avenue’ reflects a commitment to living in peace and justice with our species and our planet. Each individual tree aligns with a decades-long tradition of planting 18 trees/plants that correspond with the 18 letters of the ancient Irish alphabet. 

The heart sculpture tries to capture the essence of Sli an Chroi – ‘the way of the heart’. It invites people to look into their own hearts and get in touch with compassion, vulnerability and love, and find within themselves the ability to share that love with others.  The mirrors symbolise looking at oneself, while the double heart symbolises looking outward to the world.
The centre (below) is described as “A sacred space to rest or reflect, to pray or retreat, to nourish yourself, to be nourished by quiet and nature”. Sli an Chroi is a gathering place of refuge for any individual or group to take time out of the everyday, to reflect on their sacred story and their environment. 
Sophia Counselling Centre provides low-cost counselling to people in West Wicklow and Carlow and is a resource for those who may be dealing with Mental health issues.

This is the first of two parts that we will share over the next few days. Please check in again. The journey of Laudato Si continues.