History in Ireland
Centering Prayer was pioneered in Ireland by a number of dedicated individuals who sought to recover a rich and ancient Christian heritage of contemplation. Contemplative Outreach began at St. Aidan’s Monastery, Ferns, Co. Wexford in 1995. After meeting Bishop Comiskey, Fr. Thomas Keating had visited the monastery the previous year and invited Sr. Dolores and Fr. Tom Dalton to visit him in Snowmass in Colorado. From that visit to Snowmass sprang the Contemplative Outreach movement in Ireland with introductions to centering prayer and centering prayer retreats being sponsored by St. Aidan’s.
By 2007 Sr. Fionnuala Quinn O.P. had opened Contemplative Outreach in Dublin at the Dominican Resource Centre in Cabra. Again, introductions to Centering Prayer, Centering Prayer Retreats and regular support days were offered. In 2008, Sr. Fionnuala also started teaching Centering Prayer and the Spiritual Journey Continuation Programme at the Adult Education Centre, Sion Hill, Blackrock, Co. Dublin. She was assisted by Sr. Blanaid Gallagher O.P.
The movement flowered and by 2010 other places of Centering had opened in Dublin and around the country. When the first Servant Leaders (Presenters of the Introductory Programme) had been trained, Contemplative Outreach in Ireland was well under way and the Spirit continues to move the work forward.