Wednesday, February 19, 2003

19 FEBRUARY

. . . .is the Franciscan feast of St. Conrad of Piacenza, who probably ought to be the patron of southern California wilderness areas which are so susceptible to brush fires. There is a little chapel near Dodger stadium named after him where the late Fr. John McKenna used to preach and promote devotion to the rosary and Padre Pio, who predicted during World War II that the then Corporal McKenna would become a priest.

Yesterday I was away from the computer and didn’t get the chance to mention that the 18th is the feast of St. Colman of Lindisfarne.
St. Colman was one of the many Irish who worked to evangelize England. He was bishop of Lindisfarne for only two years and was embroiled in the controversy over the proper date for celebrating Easter for the entire time. When the Council of Whitby decided against the ancient Celitc usage, he resigned his see and settled eventually on the island of Inisbofin, establishing a monastery there.

“At the time of Cromwell, Inisbofin was a penal colony for Irish bishops. One of the prisoners, Bishop Lynch of Clonfert, Co. Galway, escaped to the Continent and to Gyor in Hungary, carrying with him the Clonfert treasure that is now called the Weeping Madonna, or the Irish Madonna. On March 17, 1697, at the height of religious persecution in Ireland, the Clonfert picture of the Blessed mother in the Cathedral of Gyor shed tears of blood. The phenomenon which began at six o’clock Mass that morning lasted for three hours, the tears continuing even when the picture was taken from the wall. Eye–witness accounts signed by the city mayor, the military commandant, the governor, the town’s Calvinist and Lutheran ministers and Jewish Rabbi, are still preserved at Gyor Cathedral. It has always been, and continues to be, an object of great devotion. It is believed to be the work of the Flemish painter Peter Pourbus of Bruges.” [D’Arcy’s “The Saints of Ireland” pp.103-104]