‘The Souls of our Shoes’ Exhibition at St Fachtna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery

A powerful exhibition in which pairs of shoes are placed alongside the words of domestic abuse survivors is on display in St Fachtna’s Cathedral in Rosscarbery from the 5th to 20 th August 2023. ‘The Souls of our Shoes’ has been developed by the Mothers’ Union to capture the experiences of those who have endured or been affected by Domestic Violence. Fifty pairs of shoes are on show accompanied by emotive personal writings from survivors and those who journey with them.

The Very Rev. Cliff Jeffers, Dean of Ross Cathedral; Marie Mulholland, West Cork Women Against Violence; and Hilary Dring, Diocesan President Mother’s Union. Picture: Andy Gibson.

St Fachtna’s Cathedral is open every day from 9am to 8pm to show this thought provoking and sensitive exhibition, giving time and space to view the artworks and pause for reflection and prayer. The exhibition is not suitable for young children and parental discretion is advised.

‘The Souls of Our Shoes’ was officially opened on Friday 4th August by Marie Mulholland, CEO of the Bantry based West Cork Women Against Violence Project. This charitable agency provides free and confidential listening, information and support services for women experiencing domestic violence. For those who may need to talk, the WCWAV helpline is 1800 203 136.

June Butler, The President of the Mothers’ Union in Ireland said:

We have prepared the “Souls of Our Shoes” exhibition for use across the island, produced prayer diaries, posters, bookmarks and flyers for all parishes. The exhibition has helpful information on supported refuges and how to find professional help for women and children forced to leave abusive homes.

Marie Mulholland said:

West Cork Women Against Violence (WCWAV) are very pleased to be involved with the Mother’s Union on this moving and thought provoking exhibition. Violence against women is a major issue in Ireland with nine women already murdered this year. Victims of domestic abuse walk a painful and frightening road, every day navigating the minefields in their homes. If you feel afraid of someone you live with or have contact with, you do not have to keep walking alone. Services like WCWAV and supportive organisations like the Mother’s Union, are here to walk with you on your journey to freedom.

The Very Rev. Cliff Jeffers, Dean of Ross Cathedral, commented at the opening:

We are honoured to be able to host this very important exhibition in St Fachtna’s Cathedral, Rosscarbery. It is a difficult topic to discuss, but very important that it is brought out into the open. We want to help raise the awareness of the wonderful support services that are available in our local area and empower women to seek help if they are experiencing domestic violence.

As part of the launch of the exhibition, the bells of St Fachtna’s were rung half-muffled as a sign of respect to those who have experienced domestic abuse in the home environment.

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