Daniel O’Leary’s final masterpiece reveals his dark night of the soul.
A human and honest response to the news of a cancer diagnosis, Dancing to my Death is Daniel O’Leary’s final book. As a priest and teacher, Daniel’s books, retreats and guidance have always inspired people deeply, and this incredibly moving account is no different.
Completed just before his death in January 2019, this book is an incredibly raw and courageous account detailing Daniel’s thoughts and feelings during his cancer journey. 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. During his final illness Daniel re-examined his faith through a new lens as he put his trust in God, discovering what was really important to him.
Written as a journal, he chronicles the ebbs and flows of his journey and, in an honest, unfiltered way, works through his questions and his doubts, coming to a level of understanding, trust and acceptance.
Fr Brian D’Arcy said of this book: “During his final illness he was gifted with immense clarity about what is important and what is not. That is why this book is his greatest and his most inspirational. It is a fitting summation of his beautiful life.”
Sr Stan writes in her foreword to the book: “He chronicled what was happening to him, the pain, the suffering, the darkness, but he also shared with great conviction what sustained him during that time … It is the story of faith, love and trust. This book is an extraordinary inspiration for everyone.”
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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. Daniel was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2018 and died on Monday, 21 January, 2019 shortly after completing this book.