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Beauty in the dance
Tuesday 4th July 2017 @ 3:04 pm

The following is an excerpt from Padraig O’Tuama’s latest email to the folks of the Corrymeela community. It is a beautiful retelling of an incredible moment of power, authenticity, enlightenment and beauty. I’ll not retell the whole email, with Padraig’s touching observations and application  – but rather I’ll simply invite you into the moment, and into the dance … and invite it to take you where it will… 


“Last week, I was with the L’Arche community as they celebrated their international federation meeting in Belfast. This gathering happens once every five years, and 520 L’Arche community members from almost 40 countries were present. 

Some of the L’Arche leaders — Pat, Marie–Sandrine and Hazel — have been visiting Belfast for a year in preparation for the gathering. I spoke on the final day and had been asked to say something that would help “send out”. 

So, I spoke about how our names, our stories, our bruises and our hopes can all be part of the vessel of our vocation. I was very aware that my presentations are full of words — and while they wanted that, I am aware of the limits of that. 

So, Helen Killick, friend of Corrymeela and chaplain at Lagan, came and played airs on the fiddle during pauses in the talk. This is what I want to tell you about. She wove lament and celebration into the music. As the musical segments went on, the strength and rhythm of the music, and the heartland of song became fixed in the Whitla hall of QUB. By the end, most of the 500 people were up dancing, jigging, grooving in their wheelchairs, twirling, clapping, and moving to the gorgeous music of Helen’s art. 

In Irish, one of the ways of speaking of love is mo cheol thú — which translates into you are my music. In Helen’s work and wonder, love was celebrated between people with no common language and bodies of all abilities moved in rhythm and celebration. It was one of the most extraordinary experiences I’ve had.”



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