THE ROSARY GARDEN

by Paul Henry

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‘It was a really nice piece of work to be part of, nice to see other people enjoy it.’
(Team Member from Burton Hall)

It is August 15th and we have just cancelled a family trip to the Horseshow at the RDS, as the rain teems down and the nation battens down for a storm. We are obviously not as hardy as the loosely.named International Eucharistic Congress Inclusion Team who faced a ‘week of wet’ to construct the ‘Rosary Garden’ and ‘Wheat Stand’ at the RDS two months ago in preparation for the thousands of national and international visitors to IEC.2012.

The team was made up of people from across the country who chose to make a real contribution to this international occasion. People were more interested in having real roles— demonstrating what they do in their work and the roles they can play in the community. This was far more important to people than just turning up as part of the event. The organisers of the IEC 2012 were keen on the idea of a garden as a quiet place for people to relax and rest during Congress and to enjoy our Irish summer! The garden concept was open to competition. With some sponsorship from the Irish Farmers Association and The Irish Farmers Journal, our proposal, design and location at the Poor Clare Monastery on Simmonscourt Road was accepted.

Amid a week of rain from 5-9 June, the garden came into being. My abiding memory is of the persistent good humour amid the pressure that always accompanies such a project, and the welcome, warmth and comfort food continually supplied by the Poor Clares to keep our spirits up. Parkside Nurseries in Waterford grew and supplied the plants. Cintra Nurseries led the landscaping, along with Burton Hall, Clean Sweep, Dove House and Moore Abbey. During the Congress, people linked to services across the country assisted daily in managing the garden and welcoming visitors. Friday had a special emphasis, with the workshop ‘Including People at the Margins’ being presented by the Sunflower Farm group from Roscommon and Brother Donatus Forkan (Prior General of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God) who came from Rome to contribute. Over 300 people from Ireland and abroad attended the workshop.

On reflection, it was worth asking the original question—how could people contribute and build new relationships through the Congress. Participants’ comments reflected this: ‘It is something we should build on and do again’; Being part of a big occasion was great and being in the home of Leinster Rugby was the best part (at Leinster’s RDS Grounds); I’d love to talk more about our work in Cintra on local radio’ ‘The nuns (Poor Clares) were so kind and asked us to stay in touch’.

A plaque will be mounted to commemorate the Rosary Garden and those who prepared and provided it. Some of the organisations we got to know are continuing to be in contact with us since the project: Agri Aware, Blooms, Spred, Leinster Rugby, Tidy Towns – Entente Florale, ACT, IFA / Macra, Social Farming Across Borders (SoFAB). We plan to keep in touch with whatever grows from here, through a newssheet ‘Become what we have received’ and getting together socially and practically in community and parish roles.

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