This year a hugely successful Novena celebrated 300 years of Passionist life and marked the foundation of the Passionist Religious Congregation in 1720.

As well as the celebration of Passionist life, it was also the 30th anniversay of the Novena itself and this year showed the attraction it holds for people all over Ireland.

Throughout the nine days, audiences have been treated to an array of speakers from all walks of life.

Father Charles Cross, Superior of the Graan opened the Novena on March 23 and he was followed by some inspirational speakers throughout the nine days.

Martina Leehane spoke about the uniqueness of each individual and how when we are in contact with the divine spark within us we can be brought to a happier way of living life to the full.

Mary McCann, CEO of Fermanagh Women’s Aid spoke about the issues surrounding domestic abuse and the work the organisation carries out.

On Thursday, Reverend Ruth Patterson spoke to the congregation about the need to break down the barriers that prevent us from seeing each other as brother and sister.

It was the third time Rev. Patterson had been invited to speak at the Novena.

Ruth was the first woman to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1976. However since 1988 she has been the director of Restoration ministries, which is a non-denominational Christian organisation committed to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Ruth’s message was a challenge to all of us to break down the barriers that prevent us, from seeing each other as brother and sister, even though we may worship in different churches.

On Friday, Baroness Nuala O’Loan, a committed Christian and the first Police Ombudsman spoke about hope in a society that is going through profound change. Baroness O’Loan spoke of hope in these times of societal change.

Marion Carroll was cured at Knock Shrine, Co. Mayo in September 1989 of multiple sclerosis.

On Saturday she told her story of the miraculous healing that came through the intercession of Our Lady.

However she has also deep faith in the living presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

On Sunday, a Passionist student from Carnlough, Co. Antrim called Aidan O’ Kane was the guest speaker.

Aidan hopefully will make his final vows with the Passionist next year.

Aidan is aged 56 and has worked with the Oblates Fathers in Kilburn, London for many years with the homeless.

Aidan is now living in Mount Argus and is doing training for hospital chaplaincy in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood in a year’s time.

On the final day, Liam Bradley was the guest speaker.

He was the first vice-chairman of the policing board in the North. Denis worked with Lord Eames of Armagh on a report on the legacy of the troubles.

Denis was ordained in 1970 but after leaving the priesthood, he worked as a counsellor establishing two shelters and treatment centres for alcohol and drug addiction in his home city of Derry.

Denis concluded the nine days of prayer on a theme of hope, renewal and commitment.