This year’s conference for Religious in Formation took place in Emmaus Retreat Centre during October and was attended by the four Franciscan postulants and three friar students from Athlone.

More than forty religious men and women came together for a weekend which focused on the Year of Mercy and our particular role of witnessing to God’s mercy in the world.

Guest speakers included Dr Jessie Rogers, a lecturer in Scripture studies at Maynooth, and Fr Vivian Boland, OP, a friar based in the Dominican Order’s Curia in Rome.

Dr Rogers reminded participants that they can only give what they have first received: by realising our own immense need of God’s mercy we are then enabled to give it to others.

Describing the mercy of God throughout the Scriptures, Fr Boland urged those attending the conference “to be revolutionaries; unhappy with the world and changing it in the direction of tenderness.”

The weekend included ample time for reflection, sharing and recreation with fellow religious and concluded with workshops on prayer and pottery.

The closing Mass was celebrated by Fr David Collins OFM and the homily was preached by the Dominican friar, Fr Donagh O’Shea.

The Franciscans – working with the Redemptoristine and Mercy sisters – provided music and singing for the joyful celebration of the Eucharist. Despite Friar Ronan Sharpley’s excellent use of the bongo drums we still haven’t had any record deals just yet!

We thank God for the energy and passion of the young religious-in-formation and we look forward to further events