In the summer of 2018 Daniel O’Leary received the news that we all dread – a cancer diagnosis. As a priest, teacher, bestselling author and retreat facilitator, it was a natural instinct for Daniel to journal his thoughts and feelings during his cancer journey. Completed just before his death in January 2019, this book is an incredibly raw and courageous account. It pulls no punches in terms of Daniel’s struggles to cope with his diagnosis, the challenges of cancer treatment and the emotional rollercoaster of facing his own death.
The book reveals a soul in chaos. It has the extremes of a torn kite in a storm – it sweeps and swoops between hope and despair, throws cartwheels and steadies out, crashes with fear and continues with raw and real courage.
During his final illness Daniel found a great clarity about what is important in life. There is a tough honesty here: an honesty that can only emerge when the circus of religious activities leaves town, and when people are encouraged to really explore what their Christianity means to them.
Daniel O’Leary was originally from Rathmore in County Kerry. He worked as a priest in the Diocese of Leeds and was known across the world as a bestselling author, inspiring speaker and retreat facilitator. He worked in parishes for almost 30 years and for another 20 years he taught Theology and Religious Education at St Mary’s University College in London. He became chair of its Religious Studies department, before being appointed Episcopal Vicar for Christian Formation in Leeds until 2000. Over many years his theology and spirituality were a source of inspiration and solace to countless people. Daniel was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2018 and died on Monday, 21st January, 2019 shortly after completing this book.