Mena Bean Ui Chribin and the Palmarians

When last week Joe Duffy interviewed many people affected by the Palmarians I thought it would be a good idea to make people aware of the story of Mena Bean Ui Chribin’s involvement with the Palmarians . However there was one drawback, namely the Roscommon abuse case of 2009.

This was how Mena would come to be seen at the end of her life:

The role of Bean Ui Chribin, now a post-mistress in Santry, Dublin, would have been a bit part in an appalling tragedy but for the fact that by helping their mother take court action to keep her children eight years ago, the children were condemned to another four years of cruelty, inflicted on them under the noses of health workers who politely sipped tea in their front room.

At the time she felt she was used as a scapegoat by the authorities. This was reported in her obituary in the Irish Times.

She said she was “since shocked to learn of the revelations that have unfolded”, and accused State authorities of seeking to scapegoat her to “deflect blame”.* (See video from Drive Time below.)

A fairer lens to look at the life of Mena Bean Ui Chribin is provided by her own grand child in this RTE Radio documentary. It makes her a more multidimensional person and sets her life in a much wider context.



Aine 24:40 Saw herself as joining a religious order rather than another Church. Aine 30:55 Had been in Palmarians 17 years.

I had met Mena Bean Ui Chribin around twenty years ago when I was asked to assist the family in regard to helping their daughter and sibling Aine Ni Chriobin who had  been a nun for 17 years in Spain with the Palmarian Church to leave. She was trapped in this Church.

I had formed a prejudiced view of Mena from the reports in the media over the previous 20 years. However, when I actually met the family I was in fact to observe a family highly educated and socially active in the support of the vulnerable in Irish society. However, my only interest was in helping them to find a way to break the control of the Palmarians over Aine. We struggled to see how this could be brought about due to the difficulties in making contact. In the radio documentary above you can hear how this process finally was brought to a successful conclusion. You can hear how the exit happened. I was able to interview her on her return and soon after that she got married and found peace and reflected on her experience in a TG4 documentary released in 2000.  It revealed that Aine went, at the age of 17, to the cultist Palmarian Church in Spain where she spent 17 years before she was finally able to escape.

Her brother Michael was also involved with some group but it never became clear before his death. I had one conversation with him and he gave me a book on Scientology which he had. Was he in fact also involved with Scientology, we just do not know.

In order to understand how Mena Bean Ui Chribin got involved with the Palmarians we have to understand the Ireland after Vatican II. Mena was into the Irish language and wanted to have a liturgy in Irish. So when Latin was replaced by English she saw this as robbing her of her Catholic Faith. So the move to the Palmarians was because she thought they would preserve the Latin liturgy she had grown to love. She saw the Catholic bishops in Ireland as being liberals and having sold out. She bought into the Palmarian private revelation claims that the Virgin Mary had given them instructions to rid the Catholic Church of “heresy and progressivism”, and of Communism.

In 1975, Domínguez formed a new religious order, the Order of Carmelites of the Holy Face, which claimed to be “faithful to the holy Pope Paul VI.” So the family joined the Palmarians and Aine like a lot of young people wanted to be really committed so became a nun. So inadvertently Mena actually facilitated her daughter joining what she at first thought was a conservative Catholic order – Order of Carmelites of the Holy Face whereas what it was to become was more audacious. It claimed to be the Catholic Church itself and that the Roman Catholic Church was the ‘sect.’ As she grappled  with the issue of her daughter’s involvement with  the cultist Palmarians she sought to find her way back to her Church. But that was to come later. First she linked up with  The Society of St Pius X founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. You can see the immediate reasons here:

The Society is known as a strong defender and proponent of the Tridentine Mass, along with pious practices, beliefs, customs and religious discipline often associated with the period before the Second Vatican Council, which the society believes promoted erroneous and heretical teachings, on matters such as the liturgical revision, ecumenism, freedom of religion, the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church over other religions and relations with Jews. Accordingly, the society holds that their effort to preserve the Tridentine Mass along with its traditionalist pious practices rescued the value of tradition against modernism and the ongoing laxity of Catholic doctrine detrimentally caused by the Second Vatican Council.

So after Aine came back and after the death of John Paul II Mena was able to participate in the Tridentine rite as it had been allowed again by Benedict XVI. This allowed her to have her Latin mass within the Catholic Church. It was first at St Audoen’s, on High street before it moved to St Kevin’s Harrington Street. This is where her funeral mass was held.



In addition to being a parish church, in September 2007 St Kevin’s became the home of the newly-established Latin Mass Chaplaincy, which draws people from all over the city of Dublin and beyond;


Here is a traditionalist view of the Palmarians:

Dr. Magnus Lundberg of the Uppsala University, Department of Theology has written two very pieces on the The Palmarians.

A religious picture in the window of the house in Faythe, Co Wexford where the body of the elderly woman was found

Read further background:


Philip Boucher-Hayes looks at the woman who supported the Roscommon abuse parents in court.

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