Message of hope shared with Notre Dame community

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 18-8-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



“I wake up each morning with a sense of gratitude knowing that whatever the day may bring I will be able to cope with it, because I have been through the very worst and I have survived.” Una Glennon

More than 150 guests gathered at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus on Monday 15 August to listen to an inspiring talk by Mrs Una Glennon who was presenting as part of the University’s 2011 Conversations on Tap series.

Mrs Glennon is the mother of Ciara Glennon who was murdered in 1997. As a result of this devastating event she felt compelled to write a book about her personal journey through her grief. It was her hope that by sharing her story that it might bring comfort to others who have experienced great tragedy in their lives.

Guests of all ages and diverse backgrounds listened as Mrs Glennon explained how she was able to come to terms with the loss of her daughter over the past 14 years.

She said each person grieved in their own way and that it was often a very lonely and isolating journey.

She believes, however, that it is a path all people needed to take to find peace in their lives after times of suffering.

Mrs Glennon said that it could be comforting to know about the way that others dealt with grief.

“There is solace and even healing in the realisation that another’s experience confirms and affirms that of our own,” Mrs Glennon said.

“Acceptance of the universality of loss and reading about another’s actual experience of loss makes us feel less isolated and alone. They give us permission to become more open and journey further into our own experience. Only when we enter deeply into our grief, and absorb it as part of our very being, will any kind of peace come.”

She reflected that people experienced grief not only through the loss of someone they loved but also through the result of a marriage break down or the loss of their job or home.

“When we are given the courage to enter deeply into and to feel our pain we discover that beneath it is a place of enduring love, compassion and quietude. We learn that the event that brought us so much pain ultimately opens a portal into a place of tranquillity,” Mrs Glennon said.

“Thus, we emerge from suffering with increased capacity to live each day in peace and gratitude for the gift that life is.” Mrs Glennon concluded her presentation by reflecting: “A tremendous growth has taken place during my long winter of exile and I am grateful for all that I have learned.”

Campus Minister, Tom Gannon, said the audience was captivated by her gentle and inspiring presentation.

“Una’s presentation provided an important opportunity for the community to come together and to hear how a person has been able to survive such a tragic and public loss,” Mr Gannon said.

“The wisdom in what Una had to say, especially that grief can force an individual to search for a deeper meaning to life, is profound.

“It was truly an amazing example of how the Conversations on Tap series can provide a forum which draws members of the community together, giving them an opportunity to share their experiences and points of view.”

For more information about the Conversations on Tap series please contact the Campus Ministry Office on 9433 0580 or email Stacie.ONeill@nd.edu.au.

Una Glennon’s website: http://unaglennon.com.

Ciara’s Gift is available through bookshops or can be purchased online: UWAP; Dymocks; Booktopia; Fishpond.

Media Contact: Leigh Dawson (+61) 8 9433 0569, Mob (+61) 0405 441 093