Sunday, January 15, 2006

There once was a fellow from Limerick. . .

. . .and if he were in Limerick today he would be celebrating the patronal feast of St Ita. The old Catholic Encyclopædia has this to say about her:

Saint Ita, called the "Brigid of Munster"; b. in the present County of Waterford, about 475; d. 15 January, 570. She became a nun, settling down at Cluain Credhail, a place-name that has ever since been known as Killeedy--that is, "Church of St. Ita"--in County Limerick. Her austerities are told by St. Cuimin of Down, and numerous miracles are recorded of her. She was also endowed with the gift of prophecy and was held in great veneration by a large number of contemporary saints, men as well as women. When she felt her end approaching she sent for her community of nuns, and invoked the blessing of heaven on the clergy and laity of the district around Killeedy. Not alone was St. Ita a saint, but she was the foster-mother of many saints, including St. Brendan the Voyager, St. Pulcherius (Mochoemog), and St. Cummian Fada. At the request of Bishop Butler of Limerick, Pope Pius IX granted a special Office and Mass for the feast of St. Ita, which is kept on 15 January.


When a small boy, St Brendan the Navigator was one of her students. He once asked her what God detested most. She answered, 'A scowling face, obstinacy in wrong-doing, and too great a confidence in the power of money'.