When there is an empty chair at Christmas

Tranquility itself: The late  Sr. Lelia Boyle in the Nuns' Chapel. ©Photograph: John Reidy  26-9-2013
Tranquility itself: The late Sr. Lelia Boyle in the Nuns’ Chapel. ©Photograph: John Reidy 26-9-2013

It was lovely to get an honourable mention from a colleague, Clodagh Finn in her evocative article in The Irish Examiner this morning.

Clodagh was writing about the void in her Christmas card list and the inevitable empty chair at the table this Christmas.

Clodagh’s cousin, the late Sr. Lelia Boyle of the Presentation Order in Castleisland, died in August and the cards from the convent were the first to land on her mat every year.

The Nuns’ Chapel

I was summoned to the local church one day in August 2013 by Noreen and Nora and they wanted photographs taken of something coming up there.

I didn’t have my usual camera with me that day and regretted it the minute I spotted Sr. Lelia praying in the Nuns’ Chapel.

I thought then I would come back the following day at the same time and then I remembered I had an IPhone in my pocket.

It did the job in that it captured the photograph you see here. And that’s all I had to do to get the mention in The Irish Examiner today.

Here are Clodagh Finn’s opening paragraphs and you can follow the article to the end through the link below.

When there is an empty chair at Christmas  By: Clodagh Finn

The jolt of realising that you’ve already sent the last card to a beloved relative is part of the emotional roller-coaster that is the festive season.

I’m an inveterate sender of Christmas cards, just as my late cousin Lelia Boyle was. Every year, her card was one of the first to land on the mat, providing a gentle reminder that it was time to swing into action.

If I’m a sender of cards, I’m also a last-minuter which, in these deadline-driven times, ratchets up the festive frazzle another notch.

Not that Lelia Boyle’s card ever added to the panic. It always succeeded in capturing the true spirit of Christmas and wished its bearer peace, good will and a year ahead filled with the same.

For the first time this year, she is no longer on my Christmas card list.

She died in August aged 93 and her funeral in Castleisland, Co Kerry, was one of those sad-happy events that celebrated a full life that touched so many.

Continue reading through the link here: https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/views/clodagh-finn-when-there-is-an-empty-chair-at-christmas-818953.html

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