Carmel, along with Geraldine Holton, are Ireland’s first contemporary beguines and made a public commitment to becoming a beguine in December 2017 at An Croí Wisdom Institute. To identify as Beguines was to align themselves with an eight-hundred-year old women’s spiritual movement that has almost disappeared and to affirm their own spiritual journey that had up until then often been described by others as ‘beguine-like’. It was a seed that had been growing for many years and today a group of women interested in this re-visioning of the medieval beguines have continued to gather regularly for conversation, contemplation and ritual as they imagine what a beguine lifestyle might look like in the 21st century.
Geraldine Holton and Carmel Boyle are inspired by a new energy among some women who seek a common spiritual approach to everyday life that is both meaningful and purposeful. The new An Croí Beguines Ireland is a way of responding, just as the original beguines did, to the contemporary spiritual, social and economic landscape. It speaks to those with a strong desire to live a deeper spiritual life that is both inward and outward looking.
An Croí Beguines, while inspired by the original beguine movement, find a unique expression in an Irish and contemporary context today. An Croí Beguines hold a vision of a new inclusive expression of church that honours the mystical tradition, gospel values, the contemplative life and the spiritual experience of women.