Laois priest reveals devastating story of loss in new book

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Laois priest reveals devastating story of loss in new book

Fr. Sean Hyland, Mary Ryan and Maureen Mc Cabe , at Portarlington Senior Citizens 63rd. Annual Party in the Heritage Hotel, Killenard. Picture: Michael Scully.

A local priest hopes that the book he has written about losing his wife and children will help others who are going through grief or difficult times.

Fr Sean Hyland from Portarlington has written a book ‘Whisperings of my Soul’ about the loss of his wife and two children earlier in life and how he gained the strength to carry on through these losses.

Tragedy struck him and his wife, Liz, early in their marriage with the deaths of their two young children Seana and Kieran.

Liz’s deep faith helped her survive the heartbreak, but Sean became an angry man after their devastating loss.

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.

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 thanksgiving, he entered a seminary in Rome and has devoted the remainder of his life to God as a Catholic priest.

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 which he loves.

“I wanted to live here and minister in a neighbouring area. There is great joy in it from weekend masses, baptisms, funerals and working in the schools in small communities like these. When I go into the school it is like an oasis of peace the children are so well looked after in a small community. I couldn't have scripted it better for myself,” he said.

Fr Hyland said the process of writing was a positive one.

“Writing it was a labour of love as I was calling to memory all of my experiences with Liz and the children and writing them down I got to live them again. It was a tremendous year reliving those memories. I poured out all my feelings,” he said.

A book launch will be held in Portarlington on December 7 at McCann park GAA Centre at 8.00pm and all will be welcome.