Fr Sean Hyland at his book launch Pictures: Michael Scully
People are travelling from near and far to see a Laois priest after the huge response to his book where he shares his devastating story of loss and consolations of faith.
Fr Sean Hyland from Portarlington launched his book ‘Whisperings of my Soul’ last December.
It was self-published and thanks to promoting the book himself to local and national media he was able to secure a nationwide distributor and attention from people all over Ireland.
The book describes in detail the tragedy that struck him and his wife, Liz, early in their marriage with the deaths of their two young children Seana and Kieran.
Sean recounts the early years of his marriage to Liz and his two children’s lives in depth in the emotional chapters from when he first met Liz to now visiting his family’s grave every week in Portarlington.
Speaking to the Leinster Express, Fr Hyland explained why he wrote the book.
“I lost my wife and earlier in life, we had lost our two children. Liz carried me through that and when she got sick, I prayed for support, it was kidney cancer and a long nine-month journey.
“After the children died I had turned to the drink and I was terrified I would go back there.
“I was always a pessimist and fell into self-pity but I prayed and I was given the strength, more strength than was natural for me.
“I prayed and I got explicit consolation, dreams and visions of Liz and my children that they were safe and well, I knew this beyond doubt.
“I have shared it with other people who are grieving or troubled and it comforts them. It is a gift that has been granted to more than me. That was the catalyst to write the book, my experience gave other people comfort,” he said.
In the book, he explains that after he lost all three members of his family he received help through many consolations of faith which let him know that his wife and children are close by and watching over him in heaven.
In thanksgiving, he entered a seminary in Rome and has devoted the remainder of his life to God as a Catholic priest.
Fr Hyland told the Leinster Express that he is ‘chuffed’ with the feedback from the book.
“People visit me from all over the country with tragedies. I have had people come from Kerry and Tipperary. Water finds its own level and people who are in a tragedy will find you and they will travel to you. They know I am not going to solve it but I will share the reality of the closeness to heaven and to know that my family is safe and well,” he said.
He is happy that the book is having this impact on people and he is in a position to comfort people who have been hit with terrible grief in their lives. In writing the book, he set out to comfort people by sharing the consolations of faith he has experienced.
Fr Hyland has been asked on to The Late Late Show as a guest to talk about his book and the message behind it. He will be interviewed on the show by Ryan Tubridy on Friday, March 8.
He now lives in his hometown of Portarlington where his wife and children are buried and is a curate in the communities of Clonbullogue and Rhode.