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ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP

ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP

ST LAURENCE O’TOOLE, BISHOP – MEMORIAL: NOVEMBER 14

St Laurence O’Toole, Patron of the Diocese and City of Dublin, was born near Castledermot, County Kildare, in 1127. His father was Maurice O’Toole, prince of the territory now called South Kildare, and his mother was daughter of O’Byrne, prince of the north-eastern portion of Co. Kildare.

The cross was his portion from childhood, for from ten years old till he was twelve, he was a hostage of Dermot MacMurrough, who treated him with relentless cruelty. Ferns, then a wild and desert place, was probably the scene of the hardships and privations of our Saint. Here, no doubt, the foundation was laid of that wonderful mortification, and spirit of contemplation and prayer, which distinguished his later life.

At the demand of Maurice O’Toole, our Saint was transferred to the custody of the Bishop of Glendalough, under whose care his health, impaired by privation and neglect, returned, and he engaged in a course of study with the greatest ardour. Some time after he became a monk of St Kevin’s Monastery, Glendalough, was ordained priest, and later, in 1153, was chosen Abbot by the monks.

On the death of Gregory, Archbishop of Dublin, 1161, St Laurence was elected to succeed him, and was consecrated by Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh, in the Church of the Holy Trinity (now Christ Church), Dublin, 1162. In 1179 he attended the Third General Council of the Lateran, and Pope Alexander III made him Delegate Apostolic of the Holy See for the Kingdom of Ireland.

Full of virtues and labouring for the peace of his beloved but afflicted country, he died at the age of 53, on the 14th November, 1180,at the Abbey our Lord, at Eu, Normandy. At the moment of his holy death the Abbey was so flooded with celestial light that it was thought to be on fire. St Laurence was canonised by Pope Honorius III, in 1225, who mentions in the Bull of Canonisation that seven dead persons were restored by his intercession.

– St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

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WHY DID THE VIRGIN MARY APPEAR AT KNOCK?

WHY DID THE VIRGIN MARY APPEAR AT KNOCK?

A meditation on Knock will ultimately lead us to the Lamb of God, who for us was slain on Calvary, and by whose Precious Blood our souls that have been defiled by sin are washed white as snow. (Rev. Patrick O’Carroll) 

Pilgrimages to Knock began soon after the apparition and have continued ever since. About 250.000 pilgrims go there every year. This is a remarkable number in view of the fact that Knock has no train or bus service and that the shrine has not been formally approved by the Holy See. During World War II, 10.000 Masses were offered in honour of Our Lady of Knock for the intention of keeping Ireland at peace. Many of the people credit Our Lady of Knock with keeping Ireland out of the war just as the Portuguese people give credit to Our Lady of Fatima for keeping their country at peace.

WHAT DID THE APPARITION MEAN? 

What did the apparition mean? At Paris, La Salette, Lourdes, and Fatima, our Lady spoke. We have her own words on record. At Knock, she said nothing. Yet we can be certain that she did not appear without an important purpose.

IN IRELAND, THE PEOPLE HAD CLUNG TO THE CATHOLIC FAITH DESPITE OF BITTER PERSECUTION

In most of Europe – in most of the [Western] world, for that matter – people had turned away from God. Even in such supposedly Catholic countries as Spain, France, Italy and Portugal, men were worshipping reason and science instead of God. But in Ireland, the people had clung to their faith despite three and a half centuries of bitter persecution. They had retained their love for the Mass during all the years that the Mass had been officially outlawed. They had never faltered in their devotion to the Blessed Mother, a devotion that had been brought to them by St Patrick himself. Every night, in thousands of miserable huts all over the island, families had knelt on the dirt floors to say the Rosary together.

SHE COMFORTED THEM IN THEIR AFFLICTIONS

It seems likely that Mary appeared in Ireland to reward the people for their devotion and to comfort them in their afflictions. Many authorities on Knock point out that Mary was wearing a crown. Thus, they say, she represented herself as Queen of Heaven, Queen of Ireland, Mediatrix of All Graces.

“The mission of Mary to Knock was not one of rebuke or complaint against our people, as was the case at La Salette and Lourdes, against the prevailing vices and abuses that were shaking the very foundations of the faith in France in those days,” says the Very Rev. Jarlath Royanne, O. Cist. “Neither was it a call to do penance on those occasions. No, Mary’s mission to her faithful Irish people that day was rather one of compassion and comfort, with an implied admonition, no doubt, of dangers ahead, and the imperative need of prayer.”

ON THE EVE OF THE OCTAVE OF THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION

Every early account of the apparition points out that it occurred on the eve of the octave of the feast of the Assumption. Did Mary intend to establish this connection between Knock and Fatima? At any rate, the coincidence is interesting. It reminds us that Mary, Our Queen, has an Immaculate Heart filled with an almost infinite love for us.

ST JOSEPH’S APPEARANCE 

The two saints who appeared with Mary were the two people – next to our Lord Himself – who were most closely associated with her while she was in this world. St Joseph cared for her before Jesus was born, and he watched over her and Jesus for some years after that. As head of the Holy Family, he is the model husband and father. He is also the Patron of the Universal Church. In the apparition he was looking at her in a reverential manner. It seems likely that he represented all families and also the Universal Church in paying homage to the Queen of Heaven.

ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST 

St John was Mary’s guardian after our Lord’s death. He stood with her beneath the cross while Jesus was giving His life for the world. It was to him that our Lord almost with His dying breath said, “Behold thy mother.” St John represented all of us that day.

So St John, by his presence, reminds us that Mary is our spiritual mother. But he does more than that. He was garbed as a bishop and was reading from a Mass book. He stood next to the altar on which was the sacrificial lamb. St John was our Lady’s priest. After the Resurrection he celebrated Mass for her, renewing the sacrifice of Calvary, bringing her Son down upon the altar. It is also interesting to note that in the Apocalypse, St John refers to our Lord as a lamb twenty-seven times.

A FULLER APPRECIATION OF THE HOLY MASS

“A meditation on Knock,” says Rev. Patrick O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., “will ultimately lead us to the Lamb of God, who for us was slain on Calvary, and by whose Precious Blood our souls that have been defiled by sin are washed white as snow. Our attention is above all turned to the same Lamb of God that is mystically immolated on every altar, when the Holy Mass is celebrated. Knock, then, calls for a fuller appreciation of the Mass.”

Virtually all authorities agree on this, that the Mass is the central feature of Knock. Our Lady herself seems to bear this out. Most of the cures there have occurred during Mass. At Lourdes, the Blessed Sacrament is emphasized; at Knock, the Mass.

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2019 in Devotions

 

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“I MAKE THIS STATEMENT ON MY DEATHBED, KNOWING I AM ABOUT TO GO BEFORE GOD”

“I MAKE THIS STATEMENT ON MY DEATHBED, KNOWING I AM ABOUT TO GO BEFORE GOD”

MANY REMARKABLE CURES TAKE PLACE AT THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF KNOCK, COUNTY MAYO, IRELAND 

The Church has not yet pronounced upon the apparition at Knock. The facts… are from purely human testimony. The testimony seems most convincing. The fact that the Knock devotion is still growing after a century is a fair indication that it is not based on a delusion. So is the fact that many remarkable cures have taken place at the shrine and are still taking place.

THE TESTIMONY IS TRUSTWORTHY AND SATISFACTORY 

Within seven weeks of the apparition, the Archbishop of Tuam, the Most Reverend John MacHale, appointed a commission of three priests to investigate. They questioned the witnesses separately and found that their stories agreed in practically all details. The witnesses ranged in age from six-year-old John Curry to seventy-five-year-old Bridget Trench, the lady who had tried to kiss the feet of the Virgin. All were known to be of good character and not the kind who would manufacture such a story. The commission reported that “the testimony of all, taken as a whole, was trustworthy and satisfactory.”

ANOTHER COMMISSION WAS APPOINTED TO INVESTIGATE 

Despite this favourable report, the Archbishop decided to wait. In 1936, Archbishop Gilmartin appointed another commission. Evidence was taken from the two surviving witnesses as well as from persons claiming to have been cured at the shrine. A full statement was forwarded to Rome, but as yet there has been no formal sanction of the shrine.

A FORMAL STATEMENT 

One of the witnesses who lived long enough to testify before both commissions was Mrs. O’Connell, the former Mary Beirne. She was always ready to talk to any visitors and was interviewed numerous times through the years. She talked to newspaper correspondents, archbishops, bishops, and ordinary pilgrims. All were impressed by her candour and her sincerity. In 1936, in a sworn statement, she confirmed her story of 1879. She was grievously ill at the time. After her statement was read to her, she made this addition: “I make this statement on my deathbed, knowing I am about to go before God.” She died six weeks later, on October 19, 1936.

EVERY POSSIBLE NATURAL EXPLANATION HAS BEEN INVESTIGATED 

Every possible natural explanation of the figures has been investigated. It was thought that perhaps someone had projected them with a magic lantern. A commission tried this out but could find no possible way of projecting the images into the air. It will be remembered that they stood out a short distance from the gable.

Newspaper correspondents from England also tried out the magic-lantern idea. They were fair enough to admit that “in the situation a magic lantern was not possible.”

It was suggested that the figures might have been the work of an artist who used phosphorescent paint. When the vision was first seen, however, it was still daylight, and phosphorus would not have been visible.

A story that gained wide circulation was that one of the witnesses was addicted to drink. This was proved to be false. It would not have explained anything anyway. There were fifteen witnesses to the apparition, and no one has suggested that all fifteen were under the influence of alcohol.

… There were thousands of cures at Knock, but they were not scientifically investigated until 1936, when the Medical Bureau was established.

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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FAITHFUL THROUGH CENTURIES OF PERSECUTIONS

FAITHFUL THROUGH CENTURIES OF PERSECUTIONS

OUR LADY OF KNOCK (1879) CAME TO A COUNTRY WHICH HAD REMAINED FAITHFUL THROUGH CENTURIES OF PERSECUTIONS

Mary came to a country which had remained faithful through centuries of trials and persecutions. Ireland was poverty stricken, with most of its people living in almost unbelievable squalor. The Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 had officially ended three centuries of persecution of the Church. During that time thousands of persons had been put to death for their religion.

THE PERSECUTION HAD TAKEN A MORE INSIDIOUS FORM

After 1829, the persecution simply took a more insidious form. Catholics were no longer slaughtered, but they were offered bribes of food and money to abandon their religion and to send their children to non-Catholic schools. It must have been difficult for a man to refuse such a bribe in the famine years when he saw the thin emaciated faces of his wife and children, but the vast majority of people preferred starvation to renouncing their faith.

THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE PREFERRED STARVATION TO RENOUNCING THE FAITH 

The year 1847 was one of the worst in Ireland’s history. That was the year of the dread potato famine, when thousands died of starvation and thousands of others were forced to leave the country. When it was over, the population of Ireland was half of what it had been, and even today it is much smaller than it was before 1847. There were failures of the potato crop again in 1877, 1878, and 1879.

Typhus fever struck down many of those who escaped death by starvation. At the Cross graveyard in the north of Mayo there were from five to fifteen funerals a day. Because the people were so poor and because so many died, most of them had to be buried without coffins.

Famine, fever, abject poverty, cruel persecution – surely a nation could bear no more. It seemed that the Irish race was destined to be wiped out. Just when conditions were at their worst, Mary appeared at Knock.

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 

 

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KNOCK, 1879 – OUR LADY IN IRELAND

KNOCK, 1879 – OUR LADY IN IRELAND

OUR LADY OF KNOCK 

It rained all day in the little village of Knock in County Mayo, Ireland, on that memorable twenty-first day of August in 1879.

At seven o’clock that evening, fifteen-year-old Margaret Beirne was sent to lock up the church. After she had done so, she noticed a brightness over the building. This was most strange, especially on a rainy day, but Margaret was not curious enough to investigate the matter.

A little later Mary McLoughlin, the priest’s housekeeper, passed within a short distance of the church. She was on her way to see Mrs. Beirne and her daughter Mary, both of whom had just returned from a short trip. Miss McLoughlin noticed a strange light at the south gable of the church. In the light she saw three figures representing the Blessed Virgin, St Joseph and a bishop. Standing beside the figures was an altar on which were a cross and a lamb. She decided that the pastor had probably bought some new statues in Dublin. She did not mention the incident while at the Beirne home.

WHEN THEY CAME WITHIN VIEW OF THE CHURCH, THEY SAW THE LIGHT AND THE FIGURES 

About eight or a quarter after, she decided that it was time to go home. Mary Beirne, Margaret’s older sister, offered to walk part way with her. When they came within view of the church gable, they saw the light and the figures.

“Oh, look at the statues!” Mary Beirne exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell me that Father got new statues for the chapel?” Mary McLoughlin answered that she knew nothing about them. When they came closer, Mary Beirne cried out, “They’re not statues. They’re moving. It’s the Blessed Virgin!” And she ran home to get her mother and her brother.

SHE RAN HOME TO GET HER MOTHER AND HER BROTHER 

The news spread and other people also came to see. Fourteen persons in all saw the figures. A fifteenth witness, Patrick Walsh, lived half a mile from the chapel. From his fields he saw a large globe of golden light at the southern gable. He had never before seen such a brilliant light. The next day he enquired about it and learned of the apparitions.

The other fourteen people all testified that they saw the Blessed Virgin clothed in white garments, wearing a large brilliant crown. Her hands were raised as if in prayer and her eyes were turned towards heaven.

At Mary’s right was St Joseph. His head was inclined towards the Blessed Virgin as if paying her respect. He was somewhat aged, with a grey beard and greyish hair. At Mary’s left stood St John the Evangelist, vested as a bishop, his left hand holding a book and his right hand raised as if in preaching. To the left of St John was an altar on which were a cross and a young lamb. One witness said he saw angel’s wings hovering about this altar.

The figures stood out from the gable wall and were about a foot and a half or two feet above the ground. The gable was bathed in a cloud of light.

THE VISION LASTED FOR ABOUT TWO HOURS 

The vision lasted for about two hours. The rain was falling all the while, but the figures and the spot above which they stood were perfectly dry.

Fourteen-year-old Patrick Hills, one of the witnesses, tells us that “the figures were full round as if they had a body and life. They said nothing; but as we approached them they seemed to go back a little towards the gable.”

Of our Lady he says: “I distinctly beheld the Blessed Virgin Mary, life size, standing about two feet or so above the ground, clothed in white robes that were fastened at the neck; her hands were raised to the height of the shoulders as if in prayer, with the palms facing one another, but slanting inward towards the face… Her eyes were turned towards heaven. She wore a brilliant crown… and over the forehead where the crown fitted the brow, a beautiful rose. The crown appeared… of golden brightness… The upper parts of the crown appeared to be a series of sparkles, or glittering crosses. I saw her eyes, the balls, the pupils and the iris of each. I noticed her hands especially, and face… The robes came only as far as the ankles. I saw the feet and the ankles; one foot, the right, was slightly in advance of the other.

I DISTINCTLY BEHELD THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

“At times… all the figures appeared to move out and again to go backwards. I went up very near. One old woman went up and embraced the Virgin’s feet, and she found nothing in her arms or hands. They receded, she said, from her.”

Patrick Hill also tells us that he came so close to the figure of St John “that I looked into the book. I saw the lines and the letters.”

FIFTEEN PEOPLE IN ALL SAW THE FIGURES

Mary McLoughlin ran to tell the priest, Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh, about the figures. He understood her to say that they had disappeared, and he did not go out to look. “I have regretted ever since that I neglected to do so. I shall always feel sorry that the sight of the apparitions has been denied me, but God may will that the testimony to His Blessed Mother’s presence should come from the simple faithful and not through priests.”

– From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2019 in Prayers to Our Lady

 

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PRAYER TO ST ODRAN (ST PATRICK’S CHARIOTEER)

PRAYER TO ST ODRAN (ST PATRICK’S CHARIOTEER)

PRAYER TO ST ODRAN, ST PATRICK’S CHARIOTEER, WHO GAVE HIS OWN LIFE TO SAVE THAT OF HIS MASTER

Blessed Saint Odran, faithful and loyal to God and man! you whose name is almost forgotten by those who owe you an everlasting debt of gratitude, accept our poor thanksgiving, offered in the name of all Ireland, for your noble sacrifice of your life to save that of Ireland’s Apostle.

You had toiled in his service long and devotedly; you had learned what priceless service he could render to God and the Irish land and, when the moment came when he or you should die, by pagan hands, quickly and resolutely you laid down your life, that your master might live and labour for the Divine Master of all.

By your crown of martyrdom, so gloriously won, by your centuries of endless peace and joy, we beseech you to look down on the toiling sons of Ireland and those who try to guide them to their eternal rest. Look down on us all, O blessed Saint! for the love of him whose heart burned with love for Ireland, and pray that the blessing of the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – may descend on us and remain with us for ever. Amen.

– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Prayers to the Saints

 

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MAY THE EVIL OF INTEMPERANCE CEASE

MAY THE EVIL OF INTEMPERANCE CEASE

PRAYER TO THE SACRED HEART FOR IRELAND 

O most Sacred and most Loving Heart of Jesus! to which the Irish nation is most solemnly dedicated, preserve our nation in faith, in purity, and in charity. Through all its trials, its sorrows, its persecutions in the past, it remained faithful to the teaching of its great Apostle, St Patrick. May the former glory of its apostolic faith again appear.

May it become again the seat of learning and religion. May the rising generation see its rights restored. May the zeal of its holy priesthood increase. May the purity of its daughters preserve its stainless character. May the honour of its sons remain unsullied. May the evil of intemperance cease. May the spirit of infidelity and rationalism never reach its shores. May its attachment to the See of Peter, and its obedience to ecclesiastical superiors, never suffer diminution. May sanctity be its atmosphere and may it daily render greater glory and honour to thee, Most Sacred Heart, to which every Irish heart is, and will ever be, most devotedly attached. Amen.

– From: St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

 

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