‘A New Initiative’ – The Friary in MultyfarnhamPosted: July 16, 2008
Last week I finished work on ‘A New Initiative’. This is a video I’ve been working on since March about a Franciscan friary in Multyfarnham, Westmeath.
The friary is made up of a church, house, old agricultural college and extensive grounds. It was marked for closure a few years ago due to the difficulty and expense of its upkeep, but the friars there would like to try something new.
They would like to create a mixed community in Multy, and have plans for an arts centre, organic farm and hospice for people recovering from cancer. They’ve experimented with a few new ideas over the last few months and I was invited to take part in the first artist residency in May, along with three others, during which time we lived and worked alongside the friars and used empty classrooms and old halls as studios.
It was a fascinating experience. Joe, Richard, Diarmuid and Salvador are four of the most interesting people I have ever met. They were incredibly welcoming, but at the same time they put no pressure on us regarding involvement in religious activities in the friary. Salvador says (quoting Saint Francis) “We should be always be preaching the Gospel, and, if necessary, use words, so we would like to do it in that spirit.”
The video I made with them was created to show other friars and leadership in their province what is going on and the potential of what they are trying to do. It was screened last week at their chapter meeting and as far as I know it went quite well, so hopefully we’ll be hearing more news about Multy soon.
A lot of people seem to be intrigued by what’s going on down there, so I might do a new edit for a regular audience. In the meantime, here are some more stills:
Ruth Lyons, who also took part in the artist residency has written about her experience in The Good Hatchery blog.