Sr. Mary Ann Maxwell, who runs All Hallows College’s Renewal for Life Sabbatical program. Photo courtesy of All Hallows College

100,000 welcomes from Ireland's All Hallows

  • February 5, 2012

A hundred-thousand welcomes is perhaps more students than little All Hallows College could actually accommodate, but that’s the welcome the Irish seminary extends to mature international students.

One-hundred-thousand welcomes in the Irish tongue is céad mile fåilte. And the first person to extend that Irish greeting to international students in the Renewal for Life Sabbatical program is a Canadian, Sr. Mary Ann Maxwell.

About two-thirds of the 20 to 30 students per year who enroll in the sabbatical program are from outside Ireland. The majority are religious sisters, priests and brothers, many of whom are members of religious orders with Irish roots. But the program is very open to lay people who for whatever reason want to take time to examine their lives and careers through the lens of faith.

The program is geared toward “personal development and renewal for people who have given their lives for ministry and have not always been good at caring for themselves,” Maxwell told The Catholic Register in an e-mail. “We all need time to refresh, renew and rejuvenate.”

As a sabbatical program, the All Hallows course is no academic grind.

“There are no exams, tests, term papers, etc.,” said the Sister of Charity of Immaculate Conception. “Emphasis is placed on rest, relaxation and renewal.”

But a sabbatical at All Hallows is more than an opportunity to sleep in.

“The program offers the best of literature, music and culture through the lens of spirituality as well as theology, Scripture and human development,” said Maxwell.

The 169-year-old Vincentian seminary with links to Dublin City University is an ideal place to take on a little personal study aimed at refreshing one’s spiritual outlook.

“Our mission at All Hallows is ‘Go teach all nations,’ so there is a warm welcome for people of every race,” Maxwell said.

One good reason many international students choose the program is that it’s all in English.

“One doesn’t need to learn another language.”

The Christian history of Ireland provides the background to the All Hallows program.

“The links to our Christian heritage offer an insight into what has shaped us,” said Maxwell.

Why is a Canadian in charge of putting the program together? A few years ago Maxwell was in search of a sabbatical program and found the perfect fit in Dublin.

“All Hallows filled all my expectations,” she said.

Comments (1)

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I would like to know if you have a sabbatical programme for 2020 at All Hallows. Thank you

Mercedes Glenny
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