“The relics of St. Valentine, some of his bones and a vial tinged with his blood – are in a small casket under a shrine in Whitefriar Street Church – a beautiful old church full of echoes and candles, just off a busy Dublin city street. On the shrine lies a simple, soft cover notebook, where locals and tourists write their prayers to Valentine.
People write to Valentine about what they long for, asking him to help, telling him their secret hopes or fears – all there within the pages. It’s an incredibly compelling document, discovering it is almost like finding someone’s diary – except it’s public.
Writer and comedian Maeve Higgins has been visiting the church and the notebook for over ten years. In 2012, she decided to make a radio show about the people who write in the book – who they are, what they ask for and, of course, whether or not they find what they are looking for. Finding people willing to talk on air about their own private matters of the heart proves difficult – in short, nobody wants to.
So Maeve speaks with Fr.Brian Mckay – one of the Carmelite priests based in Whitefriars Church, who allows a notice to be placed on the altar, asking people who use the book to contact her, and talk to her about their relationship with the book. She waits, and hopes, and has almost given up, until one day, her phone rings…
This radio show is a portrait of quiet Catholic church that is – fleetingly- filled with the most romantic and dramatic, and hopeful and private moments of peoples lives.”
A real heart-warming listen.