Mary Oliver, the American poet wrote
'You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves. [...]'
In these few short words she opens up the possibility of another kind of life;
a life which is not ruled by the need to be good,
a life in which you can forgive your self for mistakes made,
a life in which you allow your self to know what it is you truly love.
If only for a minute, allow your self the luxury of imagining such a life!
What does it look like?
What does it sound like?
Who is in this one precious life of yours?
What do you spend your days doing?
Just for a moment hold back the avalanche of shoulds, musts and ought to's,
and make a note of what you see.
Then look at your life with new eyes,
and take one small step,
in the direction of your dreams.
More about Being 'Good'
I often think of my great great grandmother Catherine Hurley nee Gallivan (1842-1918) and her babies. I cannot find baptism records for all her babies. However, I do know that babies who died before baptism were buried in unconsecrated ground, often outside graveyard walls or among the ruins of old deconsecrated churches. They, along with some mothers who died in childbirth, unknown souls, criminals and people who died by suicide, could not be buried according to the rites of the Catholic Church.
Babies were buried at night, often by the father or grandfather of the baby. Mothers were not allowed to hold their babies or to be present at the burial. Often mothers lived and died not even knowing where their babies were buried.
A new organisation called HUG Hidden in Unconsecrated Ground
has been set up in Ireland to keep a record of these unofficial burial grounds. Toni Maguire from Queens University, Belfast has documented 80 Cillini in County Armagh alone. This practice of the burial of unbaptised babies in Cillini continued in Ireland until the 1970's.
This is the story of My invisible brother Michael
If you are aware of any unofficial burial grounds/Cillini, in Ireland please comment below and I will pass on the information to Toni.
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