The Shrine at Tobertynan - Page 3
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George de Stacpoole (4th Duke) died on April 3, 1929 and Pauline died on October 28, 1944.  Labourers who worked on the Tobertynan Estate cared for the shrine until the 1960s, when the estate left the possession of the de Stacpoole family.  Since then, local people in a voluntary capacity have taken over the task.  In the early 1980s, the practice of pilgrimage to the shrine in the bluebell wood as it is known locally, on the first Sunday of May was begun and continues up to the present time.  The Rosary is always recited and sometimes, Mass is celebrated.  Priests from Mount Argus frequently attend and bring with them a relic of St. Paul of the Cross.

 

In the late 1990s, the wood where the shrine is situated was sold, separate to Tobertynan House.  In February 2000, the felling of some trees in this wood commenced in order to facilitate the quarrying of sand and gravel.  There was huge opposition, partly because of possible danger to the shrine.  When the felling commenced, many concerned people formed a human shield around the shrine in order to prevent it from being damaged. 

 

Shrine in Tobertynan WoodsShrine in Tobertynan Woods

In June 1961, Edward and Eliza MacEvoy’s grandson George donated to the Mount Argus Archives, letters sent by Fr. Charles to Eliza MacEvoy and her daughter, Pauline.  The texts of three of these letters have been generously made available by the Passionist Order, Mount Argus to Dair Ríoga Local History Group for publication and are reprinted with the kind permission of the de Stacpoole family, Galway. 

 

“St Anne’s Retreat, Sutton, near St. Helen’s Lancashire, England.  Feb. 8th, I868. 

Dear Mrs. McEvoy,

I beg to apologise for not having replied sooner to your kind letter; I hope you will excuse me, I have not been well lately, but I am now much better, thank God.  I beg to acknowledge the receipt of the nice portrait of my dear good child Pauline.  She looks like a pure angel, I am much obliged to you for having sent me her likeness; it reminds me to pray more fervently for her. 

 

As this good child whom God has given to you through the intercession of St. Paul of the Cross, I wish to tell you in few words with regard to the blessed child Pauline, who until now has preserved her Baptismal Innocence, and who is a true child of God, she is a pure object of his love, she is a saintly child, God wishes her to remain always a saint.  I am sure that yourself and Mr. McEvoy and St. Paul of the Cross and myself would desire the same. 

 

Let it be your earnest prayer that the Divine Infant Jesus may infuse daily more and more his divine love into her innocent heart, and that he may enrich her with the choicest graces.  I will also comply with her request by praying for her Grand Papa. 

 

I am sorry to hear that your dear niece is so ill, my prayers have been and shall be offered for her that God may visit her with his compassionate mercy, and may restore her to good health if it is pleasing to him.  Do not fear, she is safe in the loving hands of her heavenly Father; May His will be always accomplished in us.

 

I also received your last letter.  I shall not forget to pray for yourself and for dear Mr. McEvoy in order that God may always direct you in all your duties according to his holy and divine will, and if the dear child Pauline would sometimes be impatient and cry then put a crucifix in her hands and say: look here, my child, what Jesus Christ has Suffered.

I pray earnestly that every grace and blessing may rest upon you and your family.  I beg to be most kindly remembered to dear Mr. McEvoy your dear husband and to your dear beloved child Pauline.  I enclose her an Agnus Dei.  May Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph and her Guardian Angel always protect her.  May the blessing of Almighty God descend upon you all mentioned in this letter and remain with you forever.  Amen.  I remain Yours Sincerely in Christ, F. Charles.”

 Shrine in Tobertynan WoodsShrine in Tobertynan Woods