On St. Patrick's Day we thank God for Patrick's great sons and daughters.

Saturday, 3/17/12
This is the feast of St. Patrick. Instead of reviving some distant facts about the saint, we might do well to express appreciation for what his Irish Church has done for us. We might start with what the Church has done to Ireland. Back in 1170 Pope Alexander III gave Ireland to England’s Henry II, the man responsible for the death of St. Thomas a Becket.
Then, from the time that England set up its own church in 1540, all citizens of England and Ireland were bound by law to attend Anglican services. Up until 1812 Irish Catholics paid fines for missing the services of the Anglican Church.
Between 1845 and 1849 between deaths and emigration Ireland lost two million to the potato famine. Initially England’s prime minister had boatloads of American yellow corn unloaded at Irish ports, but the Irish had no way of grinding it into flour. Peel’s successor Charles Trevelyan said the potato famine was “the judgement of God sent to teach the Irish a lesson.” My great-great grandparents who fled the famine went on across the Mississippi to Louisiana Purchase territory that was open to Catholics.
The hard times gave growth to fine Irish people and priests. In my twenty-five years with the Columban Fathers I dealt with some truly great men. The same is true of my experience here with people like Monsignor Pat Madden, along with some men who are still with us. And as for the Irish nuns, what inspiring delights they have been! 

A different kind of Irish story just popped into my mind. Twenty years ago a Miss Sullivan, a former parishioner of St. Paul's Jacksonville was finding great spiritual help in the book This Tremendous Lover by the irish Trappist priest Dom Eugene Boylan. Not so sure if it were the proper thing to do, she sought out his monastery in Ireland, asking the Brother porter if she could have a few minutes with the spiritual giant. "Yes, Ma'am, just wait here." She waited, and the man who then came in struck her as being quite ugly. That was just her first surprise. The real surprise came when Dom Eugene, pointing a bony finger at her, said, "I danced with you once in Dublin!"      

No comments:

Post a Comment