Catherine McCann is an 84-year-old physiotherapist, counsellor and spiritual director. She runs the Shekina Sculpture Garden in County Wicklow providing a space for reflective days and celebrations. In this interview with Pat Coyle, Catherine talks about her life and her latest book Love Life: A holistic understanding of ageing in which she hopes to give older people the tools to manage their ageing better.
Catherine speaks of the challenges in growing older including the temptation to get centred on oneself and to have a “poor me” attitude to life. “I think the most important thing is that you remain a contributor,” she says. And this can be achieved through the smallest gestures, even if you are incapacitated. An example would be giving a warm smile to anyone who might be caring for them.
She says she has always had an exciting religious life, adding that she wouldn’t be as content or as challenged, if she didn’t have her Catholic faith. She also has an appreciation for other faiths and on her 80th birthday, she travelled to India to learn about Hinduism. She also has an interest in Buddhism, and offers a sacred space of contemplation in the Shekina Sculpture Garden where she invites visitors to use their senses and to really become aware of them through experiencing her plants, water features, and abstract sculptures.
In her book, she wants to send the message that ageing is a positive and satisfying experience, that can be filled with gratitude once you have the tools to manage it.