Absent Presence – Integritas Garden of Presence

by | Sep 13, 2013 | Art, Art Archive, Prayer, ZZ_All



Integritas is the name of a domestic centre of Christian spirituality situated at Ennisnag, Stoneyford, County Kilkenny, Ireland. A married couple, Linda Rainsberry and Patrick Treacy, live here with their four children. This centre has emerged from the belief that a new appreciation of the beauty, truth and goodness of Christian spirituality is the greatest need of our time.

Garden of Presence

During the years 2007 to 2009, the members of the L’Arche, Camphill and Kingsriver communities worked together at the Kingsriver community workshop at Ennisnag, Stoneyford, County Kilkenny to make wooden sculptures which are placed in a contemplative garden at this centre. Each piece has the word ‘presence’ in its name as they serve to remind us of, and remember the presence of God in which we live and dwell and have our being. This garden is open throughout the year for anyone to visit.

There are six sculptures in this garden, being :

  • Vulnerable Presence (which expresses the spirituality of the L’Arche community);
  • Flowing Presence (which expresses the vision of the Kingsriver community);
  • Enfolding Presence (which expresses the vision of the Camphill community);

The other three pieces are :

  • Engaged Presence
  • Silent Presence
  • Absent Presence

Each of these three pieces express different aspect of the Christian spirituality of Integritas. Integritas (l. integrity) is the name used by this centre to signify the basic claim of Christian faith that all is made whole or integrated through Jesus Christ.

This belief is reflected in the wooden Cross in the garden at this centre, set at its most western point and facing to the east. It was jointly made by members of the Kingsriver, L’Arche and Camphill communities and erected by them on February 4th, 2009. It is called ‘Absent Presence’. The latin motto ‘A cruce semper salus’ is also used in reference to this piece meaning that through the Cross there is always wholeness.

Absent Presence

The Cross has the Greek word for fish IXOYE (Icthys) carved on top of it. The letters of this word are an acrostic of the phrase in Latin ‘Jesus Christus Die Filius, Salvator’ (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour).

Written down along the left side of the Cross is the name of Christ in Greek XPIETOE (Khristos). These seven letters are symbolic in number because they reflect that scripture records the seven last sayings or words of Jesus when He was upon the Cross. The figure cut out from its centre signifies the presence of the resurrected Christ and also the chalice and paten in Eucharistic celebration.