Post by Dan on Apr 16, 2020 1:23:25 GMT -6
There are pages upon pages in the diary of Elly Kedward. There are entries of anger, of abuse, of disgust, of rage, of hope, of despair, of anguish and misery. One can almost see by the pressure points on the paper from the ink of her mood in the time of writing. Entries of anger and rage are embedded deep within the paper, whereas entries of despair and sorrow were light in pressure, and in some cases the ink is blurred, indicating there were tears when being written.
Not all of the diary were journal entries, some of them contain words of poetry, words of prayer, stories, anecdotes, even sketches and drawings that gave visual indication and a visual glimpse into the life of Eilis Abigail Kedward.
What we have witnessed in Season Three has been nothing short of an extraordinary, emotional and of a profound turning point in her life.
...and it is Chapter Nine that compounds those emotions.
By now it is rather hard to comprehend this is the same person that "history had labeled the Blair Witch." But that was the case, and with very much a reason for it.
Tucked deep within those pages of Elly's diary was a folded set of smaller pages. It was a letter. Not written by Elly herself, this time it was a letter written to her.
The words written in the letter to her are as essential, as profound as any of the words Elly had ever shared of her own in her diary. And it is Chapter Eight that focuses on that. It is a letter written to her by Father Tierney, of whom was empathic, kind and generous to take her in when she first stumbled upon St. John's Chapel.
It is in Chapter Seven we are initially introduced to Father Tierney, it is in Chapter Eight we hear Father Tierney, but it is in Chapter Nine that we actually meet Father Tierney. To say he would play an absolute pivotal role into heart and soul would be an understatement.
As a result, Chapter Nine focuses on Father Tierney and that paternal relationship.
Since a child, since an infant, we have seen time and again the horrific deck of cards Elly had been handed, and of how she had struggled to overcome those fateful cards.
As mentioned, Season Three has been nothing short of an extraordinary, emotional and profound turning point in her life, and it is in chapter Seven we are introduced to this. From the homeless, destitute, hungry and hopeless young girl at age 14, to the incidental, yet profoundly fortunate discover upon St. John's Chapel, of her safekeeping, of the exposure of an unfamiliar, untapped and untried hope she had never experienced before. A new world, a new life of not only normal, but unprecedented fortune to her heart and mind, she will become educated, well read, well spoken, caring, loving and mature. Any compassion and affection a reader of her journal may have developed prior this turn in her life can only be of empathy and concern, whereas in Season Three, the compassion and affection brings out a contagious joy and wonder of redemption and celebration of a life rescued, a life worthy of us all.
Now, in Chapter Nine, we see the light that finally peers through the dark overcast skies that have followed her throughout childhood, a light that not only gave hope, but lifted her, brought her joy, brought her closer to God, all that she every wanted, and nothing more.
Chapter Nine takes us from her young age of 14 to her adult age of 21. It opens with a brief flashback of her first years at St. Johns, in daily prayer before the alter. She's not yet feeling worthy to come before the alter, and instead chooses to remain in a pew several rows back in humility and fear. As she prays, the horrors of her past dissipate to history.
We then cut to present day, 1750. Elly is now 21 years of age.
She writes in her diary...
"Is bean adh liomsa, ta grasta timpeall orm, ta Dia timpeallaithe agam. Nior tharla an-mhor ar na blianta beaga anuas. Ta an t-athair Tierney chomh comhchineail, chomh flaithiuil, chomh curamach. Is e mo mhuinteoir, mo threoir, mo mhothu siochana e. Is e an t-athair a bhi agam riamh. Don chead uair riamh, ta a fhios agam grasta."
Translated to English...
"I am a fortunate woman, I am surrounded by grace, I am surrounded by God. The last few years have been nothing short of remarkable/. Father Tierney has been so kind, so generous, so caring. He has been my teacher, my guidance, my sense of peace. He has become the father I never had. For the first time ever, I know grace."
We have seen for ourselves and feel gratitude in our own way to the selfless and generous man of the cloth; a great and blessed man, Father Tierney, who thought nothing more than to take her in when she came upon St. John's Chapel.
14 years since birth; a life of horror, of trauma, of neglect, of abuse and of rape, a life surrounded by suffering and death, Elly had experienced the absolute worst of humanity even before she was 10, with insult added to injury in her pre-teens during the Great Frost Year of the Slaughter.
Yet circumstance would bring her to St. John's, circumstance that would lead her to the safe keeping, the guidance, the paternal love from and for Father Tierney, to her the greatest man who ever lived under Christ himself, both figuratively and literally.
Seven years she had now resided at St. John's Chapel, seven years she had studied, had learned, had smiled, had laughed, had cried, not of sadness, but of joy.
She came to St. John's in absolute fear, in absolute helplessness, absolute hopelessness. All that changed under the guidance, the care, the teachings, the knowledge and affection of Father Tierney. A Catholic priest who could not have children for obvious reasons, but took to Elly as a daughter, as his own daughter. He brought her closer to our Father, and she became close and dependent upon not just her Father, but also now... her "father."
With his guidance, with his care, with his teachings, it appears that Elly was a prodigy of sorts, and likely had always been so. In studying her diary, it became obvious she was not only a fast learner, but excelled at what she applied herself to, and possessed an astonishing accurate memory, nearly a photographic memory.
In addition, though she initially reserved her reading and studies to the Bible, in time she would also read the likes of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Pope, Dryden, Homer, Virgil and more. In other words, she would read anything she could lay her hands on.
It is also obvious that she was unaware of any such "talents" or abilities. If anything, Elly considered herself a failure.
Yet her diary is filled with words of poetry, well spoken accounts, sketches and drawings, and most interestingly - composition of melodic notes, somewhat crude in notation, but legible and translatable. In one passage, she writes of her dabbling with the chapel's organ, improvising and composing.
St. John's Chapel contained a "Trinity Organ," developed by the French-German organ builder Karl Joseph Riepp. Elly was fascinated by it, and according to her diary, spent hours beside it, experimenting, improvising and eventually composing.
St. John's Chapel also possessed a clavichord, which was often preferable, considering its "on bog agus faoisimh o chluasaigh daoine eile i meid an orgain trionoide" (soft tone and respite from the aching ears of others in the magnitude of the trinity organ).
She wasn't able to transcribe her compositions, not having formerly learned to do so, but literally sketched out the keys and notated which key and/or keys she used and the length of measure and tempo using numerical chord notations and tablature.
In her diary, Elly tells of when on Christmas of 1748, Father Tierney gave her a lute, of which she also taught herself to play and notated compositions.
In the seven years Elly remained at St. John's Chapel, it would come to an end, as Father Tierney's time of life was coming to an end, and he knew this was to happen. Father Tierney had lost a great deal of his vision, was now color blind, and to make matters worse - a tumor in his abdomen grew larger by the week, and soon by the day. He knew it was his time. The inevitability of his mortality brought new fear, a new anxiety to Elly.
...She would be alone again.
In tears, both of them, together in the library, Father Tierney held Elly's hands. "Such strength," he reassured her, "you will need all your strength in the days to come."
"But you doubt yourself my child," he explained, "I have not seen fear in your face for such a long time."
Elly then let go of his hands, leaned over and embraced her "Da" with a hug of love, of fear, and inevitable goodbye.
Later that month, Father Tierney sat down to write a letter. A letter of conviction, of hope, of continued guidance and strength and a letter one's father might compose for his own daughter. He then carefully and quietly entered her bedroom and placed the letter on her bedside table. All the while she slept, unaware. He blessed her in silent prayer, then leaned over and gently kissed her forehead.
Elly awoke, but only slightly. Her eyes opened and she saw her "Da." She smiled in warm comfort, then closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep.
Early morning the next day, before Elly had woken up, Father Tierney exited St. John's Chapel for the very last time. He then made the very long journey across miles of land, to a sailboat that would take him to Sceilig Mhor (Skellig Michael), to climb the great twin-pinnacled crag, to take his last communion alone with God. He would then descend the mountain for one last look at the ocean. And with a smile of joy, a smile that he was to be with God, he passed away.
The journey to Sceilig Mhor is the bulk of Chapter Eight, intentionally. It is intentionally revealed at a savored pace. It is a man's last moments of his life, and because it is such a profound journey, is designed for not one moment to be taken for granted. Step by step, trail by trail, hill by hill, we are also able to read the letter he composed to Elly, and we are to gain true and profound insight into their relationship.
To say Elly was devastated would be an understatement. The words she wrote in her diary repeated themselves every moment of every day; thoughts and fears that would haunt her for the rest of her days.
"I can see myself there, too weak to get up, not weak enough to die. I mean why didn't I just get up? That is all I had to do, is just get up. That's all I had to do, just get the fuck up, get fucking up."
God bless Father Tierney. We haven't been fortunate to know him as well as we all would desire.
God bless Elly Kedward. We've been fortunate to know her story, page by page in her diary.
...And we have a long way to go.
Long live Father Philip William Tierney.
God help Eilis Abaigeal Kedward.