Philomena Lee, the real-life Irish woman whose life story is the center of the Oscar-nominated film "Philomena," met Pope Francis on Wednesday (Feb. 5). Photo courtesy of Philomena Project

Philomena Lee meets Pope Francis

VATICAN CITY (RNS) “There is no way I could have ever imagined it,” Philomena Lee said after meeting Pope Francis. Asked if she felt resentment against the church, Lee said “You can’t go through life being so unyielding; you got to forgive.”

Irish poet Seamus Heaney

The unsilenced voice of Seamus Heaney

(RNS) The disappearance of Irish poet Seamus Heaney — so unexpected and jolting — left a silence and a stilled a pen. There would be no more new words. And yet the poetic embrace he’s left as a legacy is vast enough to hold those of us who drew life from his work and many generations to come.

patrician cross

Godless funerals thrive in ‘post-Catholic’ Ireland

DUBLIN (RNS) After 32 years as an interior designer, Patricia Wojnar went back to school for a master’s degree in bereavement studies, a hot commodity in Ireland’s “post-Catholic” economy that features growing markets for wedding and funeral officiants who aren’t associated with the scandal-scarred Catholic Church.