Monday, April 02, 2012

2 April -- St Bronach

April 2d is the ancient feast of the 6th century Irish virgin, Bronach. Almost nothing is still known about her. What remains is the history of St Bronach's bell. Mrs D'Arcy relates the story:

For 50 years, fireside reminiscing kept alive the memory of the mysterious former ringing of an invisible bell in Kilbroney churchyard. Scoffers called it a ghost story. Then in 1885, a storm felled a great oak there and workmen chopping up the old tree found in the fork of two branches a very ancient bronze bell which is ascribed to 6th century craftsmanship. The ring holding the tongue of the bell had worn away and so the mystery of the ringing and of the silence was cleared up. It was Bronach's lost bell, one more holy relic that was hidden away in the Reformation and finally recovered.

About a mile from Rostrevor in Country Down in the ancient church of Kilbroney, so named for the saintly Bronach registered in the martyrologies of Tallaght and Donegal as the virgin of Glenshesk and of Kilbroney of which she is the patroness. In the Rostrevor church yard may be seen Bronach's Cross and in use in the parish church there is Bronach's own bronze bell.