The Human in the Universe

Niamh Brennan

Niamh Brennan

Tramore native Niamh Brennan is a writer and workshop facilitator in the area of Cosmology and Spirituality whose first book, The Human in the Universe, was launched at The Book Centre in Waterford last Friday.

Published by American-based Wyndham Hall Press, the book explores such age-old existential human questions as ‘what is love?’, ‘what is suffering?’ and ‘what does it mean to be alive?’’, Niamh says.

“It’s a contemporary science take on cosmology and what it means for humanity. There is a lot of personal reflection in the book. It’s based largely on the teachings of Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. I was blown away by their explanation about how the universe developed and my book draws on their philosophy, the major insights emerging from cosmology and personal reflection to postulate a more relational, compassionate and sustainable vision of humanity for the future.

Niamh, who grew up at Pickardstown in Tramore and is the daughter of Jim and Sheila Brennan, has a background in international development. The former Ursuline Convent student was awarded the St Angela’s Peace and Justice award whilst at secondary school.

“I worked overseas in the Philippines with the Missionary Society of St Columban from 2001 until 2004. I was 23 when I first went out. I ended up working at a school for the deaf and disabled, teaching income-generating skills. I stayed three years without coming home but I have to say the time flew, I loved it out there.

“The whole experience really turned my view of the world upside down. I went out there thinking I was going to save the poor but I ended up learning so much from the people I was working with.”

The Human in the Universe was largely inspired by Niamh’s experiences overseas, both in the Philippines and in the US, where she studied for an MA in Culture and Spirituality in Oakland, California and contributed to several journals including The Furrow, Spirituality, the IMU Report and Emmaus website, as well as spending two years at the community-based Genesis Farm in New Jersey, which is sponsored by the Sisters of St Dominic

“I’m fascinated by the way our bodies contain the same elements as the stars. You could say they’re our ancestors. It’s all about that deep connection and the unity of life and how that evokes wonder and awe.

“My aim is to just bring back a little hope into the world and to show people again, that even with all its difficulties and challenges, life is still beautiful and to be alive is a gift.”

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