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Reflections on a Life

O Mhuigheo Go Valparaiso

Author(s): Teresita Durkan

ISBN13: 9781853909818

ISBN10: 1853909815

Publisher: Veritas

Extent: 142 pages

Binding: Paperback

Size: 20.6 x 14 x 1.2 cm

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  • Reflections on a Life offers short excursions into autobiography, informal evocations of particular incidents, times and places, and sharply-etched memories of individual people who have left an imprint on the authors life. These memories and reflections range widely over two countries and continents, and offer insights into a variety of times and cultures.

    From a free-ranging rural childhood on the Atlantic coast of Mayo about the time of Hitlers war, to a freelance, mid-life relocation in Valparaiso on the coast of Chile during General Pinochets dictatorship in the 1980s , crucially linked by the three decades she spent as a Sister of Mercy in various Dublin schools and colleges , Teresita Durkans is a life that provides plenty of scope for observation and reflection.

    The book as a whole throws out a challenge , to be more thoughtful about the kind of life we are helping to shape, both inside ourselves and around us. We are responsible for the worlds we create for one another.

  • Teresita Durkan



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    The memories and reflections in the book are spread across the seven decades of the author s life. They are also geographically spread across the two countries where the author lived Ireland and Chile. Born in Mayo in 1936, Teresita Durkin was a Sister of Mercy in various Dublin schools and colleges before leaving the order and relocating to Valparaiso Chile in 1989 where she used her considerable skills in working with needy young people. Although she has some of her own poetry in the book, her prose style is wonderfully poetic in its own right. It is a relaxing book to read, each short chapter a reminiscence from her life. The words are beautifully wrought, which reminded me sometimes of Jane Austens expertise with words. This way with words is something that the author obviously values herself. Her descriptions are also vivid ... A lovely book, definitely one for sitting by the fire and savouring. One final satisfying note is that all of the royalties from the sale of the book go to care and education of poor children in Chile, Bolivia and Uganda.

    - Diocesan Magazine February 2006

    Like a musical symphony, Teresita Durkans Reflections on a Life begins with an evocative overturn. Starting with some long remembered lines from St John Gogartys Thainig long o Valparaiso , Teresita recalls, through alternating stretches of prose and poetry, her awakening childhood imagination and her dreams of exploring wider horizons. In broad strokes, she outlines the bright and dark features of her personal history, from rural life in Mayo, to convent life in Dublin. After almost twenty years of educational service, a new phase in her life opens up. I found myself with the freedom and impetus to fulfil an old dream. Teresitas going to visit and later settle in Valparaiso are remembered early in the book. She takes us with her, forward and backwards across the Atlantic, as she contrast the beauty and ruggedness of the Mayo coast with the sunnier, more exotic coast of Chile at Valparaiso, and reflects on the parallels between he life of the Chilean fishermen and the fishermen of the forties in west Mayo. Reflection on a Life is a book to read from beginning to end, as one would listen to a musical composition. But it is also a book to dip into for pure enjoyment.

    - Intercom April 2006

    Some of these autobiographical notes are in the form of poetry. Durkan was brought up in Mayo in wartime Ireland. As a member of the Sisters of Mercy she taught, and became president of Carysfort teacher training college for 14 years. On its closure she left the order to live in Chile under the Pinochet dictatorship to work for the poor. The collection is personal, with a thread of religion running through all the poems and prose, as well as reflections on politics and life in general.

    - Books Ireland December 2005


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Reflections on a Life

 
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