On Sunday 11th September, some ladies from the T.L.C. group attended the 'Blessing of Bonnets' ceremony in Kilbroney Parish Church, Rostrevor.
The T.L.C. group got involved with the 'Roses from the Heart' project some time ago and Christina Henri, the Australian conceptual artist responsible for the project, came to Rostrevor for the blessing. Christina had been in Ireland for a couple of weeks, visiting several 'Blessing Ceremonies' from Cobh to Rostrevor.
The photo above shows the T.L.C. group with Christina..
There were hundreds of bonnets on display.
An empty boat was placed in the middle aisle, in front of the altar.
There was a bonnet placed at the end of every pew.
The church was packed.
The T.L.C.'s in the pews!
The Lord Mayor of Newry presented Christina with a beautiful crystal bowl
Canon Jamison led the service and it was a service full of emotion. A young girl played the harp and sang "The Fields of Athenry" before playing a lament while the hundred of bonnets were brought to the altar in procession and placed in the boat.
Christina then related several stories about these poor women who were taken from their families and exiled to Australia for crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread or a coat.
L-R Anne McEvoy, Kathleen McEvoy, Margaret McBride (organiser), Sandy Turley and Mairead Magee
Christina with Canon Jamison
This lady read a letter from a husband to his wife who was wrongly accused of stealing and, with their two year old daughter, was convicted and sent to Australia. He remained in Ireland with their two sons, never to see his wife and daughter again. As the child was two years old, she was taken from her mother when they reached Australia and placed in an orphanage where she died.
It was certainly an honour and a privilege to be part of such an occasion.
Christina started out by asking for 25,566 bonnets and she still needs 5,000 so we are still sewing! If you can help, pleaae let us know.