Fiachra’s Hospice

This page is dedicated to exploring what it means to be hospitable toward the people around us.

This was always the thing that Saint Fiachra came to last and with some resistance. And yet, it was his hospitality that characterized his life in the end. When he left the monastery in Ireland to establish a small hermitage along the Nore River, he wanted to get away from the distractions of human community. He wanted to focus more completely on his relationship with God. But as he drew close to God, others soon followed. Then again his work turned toward offering hospitality to the needy and to those who joined him in his work. Then he moved to France to establish another hermitage, but soon he became host to traveling missionaries and pilgrims, and to the sick and needy in that place. He started out with a small cell for shelter and meditation, and then an oratory for prayer and communal worship, but in the end it was his hospice (guest house) that characterized the place. Of all the things Fiachra did in service of God, his hospitality was perhaps his most sacrificial act of worship.

This also is where I struggle the most. It is natural for me to want to retreat from people and enter my cell or garden or walk in the woods, but in the end it is others whom I am called to serve. Jesus told us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But he didn’t stop there; he also told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. And in the end we are told that the best way to love God is really to love the people around us. Through hospitality we become an extension of God’s presence in the world—the very hands and feet of Jesus.

Come, reflect on the gifts of good food, of healing space, and of healthy activities and relationships. Let us in all ways seek to encourage healthy connections between people, and also the parallel relationships with God and with the rest of creation. Come also to reflect on the many ways we fail to treat others with proper respect, whether as individuals or as a society. How many unintentional sins against others do we commit each day by participating in our everyday lives?

Come, join me in this work of reaching out to others in healing ways.

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