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