Mr Frank Diamond - Building Resilience and Hope


Mr Frank Diamond shares his inspirational life story with our senior pupils.

My principal motivation in life has always been to help people fulfil their true potential, to help build their self- esteem and knowledge of themselves in order to be happier, more satisfied and more productive in life.”
Frank Diamond

On Tuesday 22nd January 2020 Year 13 and Year 14 pupils had a very interesting and relevant talk from Frank Diamond, former missionary priest who spent more than a decade in Tanzania, Africa. Frank spoke about his experiences in Africa working with people who are living in adverse poverty. Although these people have very little they continue to struggle on and are happy with their lot in life. He told the story of Hope. Hope had polio when she was four years old and as a result was paralysed from the waist down. Her only way to get around was to crawl using her upper body. She crawled for 4km to get to mass each week. She now has a tricycle which she can operate using her hands and arms.

Frank also spoke about the tragic death of Conor McCusker in 2009, and how the McCusker family had dealt with their loss. Conor’s organs were donated and gave life to people with a range of serious illnesses. His family took comfort from the fact that some good had come out of the tragedy. Money was also donated in memory of Conor and given to Frank for his work in Tanzania. This money was used to build a community centre. Conor’s brother Niall was able to be a part of this, helping him to overcome the heartbreak of losing his brother.

On a personal level Frank spoke of his own struggles with mental health. How he had burnt the candle at both ends and managed to burn himself out. He emphasised how we all tend to wear masks and maybe it was time to remove the mask and be ourselves and to share our emotions.

The current chapter of Frank’s life is as a devoted husband and father of two young daughters. His four year old daughter Laoise frequently tells him to put his phone away, teaching him and us the importance of being physically present.

The talk finished with a powerful quote from the Shawshank Redemption.

“Hope is a good thing
Maybe the best of things
And no good thing ever ends”.

Our Sixth form pupils offered the following reflections on the talk.

“Frank’s talk on mental health made me reflect on my wellbeing in a very different way.  I never thought that being resilient can make someone feel better about themselves.

I also enjoyed listening to his stories about his missionary in Africa and how he helped others become resilient even at the most difficult of times.

Frank also helped all of us realise that a healthy human connection is not through our phones but through comfort and caring for others – something our generation needs to improve on.”

Reuben Tosh

“The talk was very informative.  He talked about resilience and how it can help your mental health. He also linked resilience with his own experiences throughout his missionary journey in Africa.  He told us many inspiring stories.  One struck me in particular - a woman called Hope was paralysed from the waist down and carried herself 4km to church so they made her a wheelchair/bike which you use your hands to pedal.  Throughout the talk he spoke about the importance of human connection.  He mentioned his daughter who doesn't allow him to use his phone as she enjoys spending time with him and their human connection. He ended the talk by playing/singing us a song with very meaningful lyrics which encourages you to lean on others for support.”

Hannah O'Donnell and Lisa Doherty