Date: 19 Aug 2014
Bríon O’Sullivan is a third year student in International Development Studies in University College, Cork. As part of his degree programme, he has just completed a six month volunteer placement with the Presentation Brothers in Ghana. Bríon, a past student of Presentation Brothers College, Cork, first went to Ghana as part of an immersion visit with the Preslink Group in 2008.
"It is with great sadness and reluctance that I must say my final farewell to the Presentation Brothers, my most courteous, welcoming, civil and obliging hosts. In each community I visited, I was not considered as a burden but a colleague and a comrade. All formalities and extended welcomes were executed with flawless, almost military precision and in such a way as to ease the sometimes sensitive transition between the two very contrasting realities. Each community has immeasurably provided for, and satisfied, my spiritual, intellectual and physical nourishment.
Giving special thanks to the communities in Logre, Navrongo and Tamale (my final resting place, one of life rather than death of course!). I may have been a nuisance at times, so for that I congratulate each and every religious brother for surviving the uncontrollable onslaught of a young Irish student. Visitors are said to be comparable to fish, after a few days a smell begins to develop and within a week that smell becomes too pungent and too rancid to put up with.
I also recognize the personal sacrifices and the significant economic burden of harbouring an unwelcome fugitive, also known as a guest, which I am thankful for. I am also inexplicably grateful to everyone for their hospitality and spiritual counsel.
Finally, I would like to say a word of blessing to each Brother, Postulant and Novice who I have had the extreme privilege to meet, on their admirable and commendable vocation towards spiritual recognition and self-sacrifice which has been deeply inspiring to me. I witnessed countless acts of noble and magnanimous behaviour along my journey, observing many displays of unequivocal support, care and guidance to those in need.
So I say another word of thanks for the supportive and nurturing environment which I found myself to be a part of, creating a space for significant personal growth in order to foster a young and naive student, and certainly for helping me to realise what is truly important in life and ultimately, the power of faith. Thank you!"