A Clonmelman has written a book about his two years spent with a religious order.
I Was A Teenage Christian Brother was written by Brendan Ahearne, originally from Glenconnor and now living in Naas.
“The book is a history of Clonmel and a history of me”, he says. “I didn’t write it to make a fortune, I just felt it was something I had to do”.
Brendan entered the Christian Brothers’ seminary in Carriglea Park, Dun Laoghaire when he was 14, in 1968.
“I thought I had a vocation, I really believed it. I woke up one day and decided it was the life for me. I was the only fellow in school whose heroes were saints!”
However his mother wasn’t so sure and pleaded with him not to leave home at such a young age.
“I told very few of my friends, I just disappeared for two years although I came home at Christmas, Easter and for a time during the summer”.
Brendan decided to leave when he “discovered that having fun and girls were more important! I was hidden away for two years but when I left the seminary in 1970 the fashion and music were different, the world had changed. Ireland had moved from the easy listening generation into the rock n’roll age”.
Rather than looking back on two years that were wasted, he’s delighted that he joined the order. Of the 64 boys from around the country who entered the seminary at the same time, 20 went on to become Christian Brothers.
He’s eager to point that he never encountered any abuse in the order.
“The Head Brother told us to report anything untoward to him. In Clonmel we owe the Brothers a debt of gratitude for the education they provided. Of course there were a few bad apples in the barrel but it’s a pity they’ve all been tarred with the same brush”.
In the book he says that the Brothers lived up to their motto of facere et docere, to do and to teach. “May the good values they gave to our country and the world never be forgotten. They made men out of us”, he writes.
As well as dedicating the book to all the Christian Brothers who taught him he also dedicates it to teachers Molly Bracken and Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque, who he says grounded him in the Faith in his earliest years as a pupil of the Sisters of Charity school.
The son of the late Mabel and Billy Ahearne, Brendan worked as a plumber for 40 years until he was made redundant some time ago.
He’s married to Siobhan and is the manager of the community hall in Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare.
As well as being distributed in this country he has already sold some copies of the book in Northen Ireland, Romania and the United States.
Anyone wishing to buy a copy should contact Brendan at firstname.lastname@example.org