NATURE NOTES - Carmelite Monastery - Knock, Tranquilla
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We are used to having snowdrops out in February and a few bushes beginning to bud

but never did we see our camellias out in full bloom in February before!

In fact, every bush in the garden is in bud or early leaf. 

We are more than a little surprised by the mildness of January and February

– (usually two of the coldest months in Mayo).


The Lord of all creation will keep all He has made in His love –

even if our stewardship and greed have damaged the rhythm of the Seasons.

Nature shows us just how small we are in the Universe –

but God holds us as the highest of His creation –

we are not worthy of being His stewards

but we must honour our debt of love and care for the earth we walk on.


We enjoy making St.Brigid’s Crosses for Feb.1st. the feast of  St. Brigid and the first day of Spring in Ireland!


There is no shortage of rushes in our fields and it is great fun to see the ‘beginners’ and ‘proficients’ end results.

We all had to start once! May the promise of Spring give solace to our hearts. 





– is Winter with hints of Spring –

 surprising us with beautiful tiny shoots springing up before our eyes!


Nature continues to lift our hearts and minds.

The winter walks have

a beauty of their own

and the trees stretch out

their limbs to God as if in prayer








And the little moorhens

come a-begging!













The magnificent December skies  herald Advent and Christmas

And God’s little creatures are

up and about at odd times!

We join with nature and ‘wait in hope’

for the Day Star – Jesus, born of Mary,

coming as gently as the Dawn

The dark evenings have crept upon us

and Winter-Time is here once more.

It brings its own beauty

and the play of light and shadow is astounding.



The birds (small and big!)

need all the help we can give them

in this lean season.

We do our best and are rewarded

by the lovely antics of our feathered friends.











October 4th. the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi concludes the ‘Season of Creation’

Like our Swallows, we say ‘Goodbye’ to Summer and ‘Hello’ to Autumn!




September 1st. – October 4th. – the ‘Season of Creation’,

an ecumenical initiative

that aims to increase awareness among Christians

of the need to protect our common home.

It runs from Sept. 1st. to Oct. 4th.

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi,

patron saint of animals and ecology.


Let us all Pray and Work to take care of the creation on our doorsteps!




Knock is no stranger to rain in August – and our moor-hens love it!

Nature still delights us no matter the weather.

However, our hearts go out to all who suffer from extremes

of heat or floods across our broken world.


Stream at the bottom of our grounds






July brings a flurry of fruit picking and jam-making,  as well as – Bees, Honey and Roses!





We have renamed these beautiful flowers

‘Living Flames’

after St. John of the Cross’ poem.

They arrive on time for all the great Carmelite feasts in July!

They blend beautifully with the Orange Blossom and Poppies to provide fitting flower arrangments for the Chapel and house.













June arrives with the lush colours of Summer, Swallows, and Flora in plenty!




Our Summer paths delight us

and the rabbits (and nuns!) are hiding among

the rocks and wild Flowers!

























By Christina Rossetti

Frost-locked all the winter, 

Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits, 

What shall make their sap ascend 

That they may put forth shoots? 

Tips of tender green, 

Leaf, or blade, or sheath; 

Telling of the hidden life 

That breaks forth underneath, …

Another mild winter surprised us with Spring growth

which we usually do not see in the West of Ireland

until very late March or early April!

The birds are singing and

the Magnolia will be in full bloom way before Easter.

Even in a war-torn and broken world, nature offers our souls respite

and the promise of glory to come.







It is very hard to believe that we last updated our nature notes in October – and it is now February!

We got Covid 19 during November with ten of us laid low

and all of us were isolated in our monastic cells.

It was surreal and we are still ‘catching up’ on things.

Where December and January went,

Nature-Note-wise is a puzzle!













































































































































































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