When we discover that we have a short time to live, our lives can change dramatically. A Spiritual Care Centre is being built in southwest Ireland to support people at this most vulnerable time.

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, visited Dzogchen Beara on the 12th of September to give her support to the Spiritual Care Centre.

Speaking to a crowd of over five hundred people including clergy, medical professionals, politicians, the local community, and Rigpa sangha members, President Mc Aleese said,

What a particular joy it is to be in the company of Sogyal Rinpoche, whose wonderful work…so well known to so many people right around the world…bring[s] home to us a subject that so many of us want to run away from. That we don’t want to face.., that we cannot face… and then when we do face…, discover how ill prepared we are for the journey that we are about to embark on. [It is] so wonderful to see how your work and the work that is being done here and the work that will be done here, through the new Spiritual Care Centre, will complement, underpin, and work so well with the new mood…in palliative medicine, in hospice care, which is all about the same business of trying to allow us the dignity of dying well, of good deaths, of deaths that don't terrify, of processes towards death that don’t convulse us with terror, but rather help us to release in ourselves and for our families something that is good, is healing, is uplifting…I think that is one of the great things that you are helping us to do here. To make a friend of death, which actually seems in so many ways, such a strange journey to cope with, such a very very important journey to [take].

During her visit, President McAleese also dedicated a plaque to Harriet Cornish. Peter and Harriet Cornish bought the land where Dzogchen Beara is located in 1973 with the dream of creating a place that would address the spiritual needs of people in modern society. In 1992, they made a gift of the land and buildings to a charitable trust under the spiritual guidance of Sogyal Rinpoche. Harriet died in 1993 and her death, and the way she was cared for, was an inspiration for building the Spiritual Care Centre at Dzogchen Beara.

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