jeudi 14 novembre 2013

Saint LAURENT O'TOOLE, archevêque et confesseur


Saint Laurent O’Toole

Archevêque de Dublin, 

 † 1181

Laurent était le plus jeune des fils de Maurice O’Thuataile, prince riche et puissant de la province de Leinster en Irlande. Maurice profita de la naissance de son fils, pour terminer ses querelles avec Donald, comte de Kildare. Il le pria de tenir cet enfant sur les fonts sacrés , et le fit porter à Kildare, afin qu'il y reçût le baptême. Lorsque Laurent était dans sa dixième année, son père le donna en otage à Dermith , Roi de Méath. Ce prince se conduit en barbare envers l'enfant qu'on lui avait remis, et le fit garder dans un lieu désert, où il fut traité avec la dernière inhumanité ; sa santé fut bientôt réduite à l'état le plus fâcheux. Maurice, informé de tout, força Dermilh à remettre son fils entre les mains de l'évêque de Glendenoch, qui eut soin de l'élever dans la piété, et qui le renvoya depuis à son père.
Maurice alla remercier l'évêque, et crut devoir mener avec lui Laurent, qui avait alors douze ans. Il dit au prélat qu'il avait quatre fils ; que son dessein était d'en consacrer un au service de Dieu , et qu'il voulait en laisser Je choix à la décision du sort. Laurent entendit ce discours. Charmé de trouver cette occasion de faire connaître ses sentiments, et jugeant d'ailleurs qu'il y avait de la superstition dans le projet de son père, il s'écria avec empressement : « Il est inutile d'avoir recours au sort. Je ne désire rien tant que de prendre Dieu pour mon héritage, en me dévouant au service de l'Eglise. » Maurice le prit alors par la main pour l'offrir au Seigneur ; puis il le présenta à l'évéquë, après l'avoir mis sous la protection de saint Coëmgen. Ce Saint qui avait fondé le grand monastère de Glendenoch, était patron du diocèse de ce nom, qui fut depuis uni à celui de Dublin. Le maître prit un soin extrême de son disciple , qu'il voyait avancer chaque jour dans la pratique de toutes les vertus.
Laurent n'avait encore que vingt-cinq ans, lorsque la mort enleva l'évêque de Glendenoch, qui était en même temps abbé du monastère. On l'élut abbé : mais il ne voulut point accepter l'épiscopat, alléguant pour cause de son refus, la disposition des canons qui exigeaient qu'un évêque eût trente ans. Il gouverna sa communauté qui était fort nombreuse, avec une piété et une sagesse admirables; et durant les ravages d'une famine qui dura quatre mois, il devint comme un autre Joseph, le sauveur du pays, par ses immenses charités. Mais Dieu voulut que sa vertu fût perfectionnée par les épreuves. De faux frères qui ne pouvaient souffrir la régularité de sa conduite, ni le zèle avec lequel il condamnait leurs désordres, employèrent la calomnie pour noircir sa réputation. Il n'en repoussa les traits que par le silence et la patience. Ses ennemis furent confondus, et on rendit à sa vertu la justice qu'elle méritait.
Cependant Grégoire, archevêque de Dublin, mourut. On lui donna pour successeur Laurent, qui ne pouvait plus alléguer le défaut d'âge, parce qu'il avait trente ans. Il fut sacré par Gélase, archevêque d'Armagh. Il se fit un devoir de remplir ses obligations avec une application infatigable, et de veiller tout à la fois sur lui-même et sur son troupeau. Toujours il avait présent à l'esprit le compte qu'il devait rendre au souverain Pasteur des âmes confiées à ses soins. Il réforma d'abord les mœurs du clergé, et ne choisit que de dignes ministres. Ses exhortations pleines de force, produisaient partout de grands fruits, et l'on eût rougi de ne pas pratiquer les vertus dont il donnait lui-même l'exemple.
Sa cathédrale, dite de la Sainte-Trinité, était desservie par des chanoines séculiers. Il les engagea vers l'an 1163, à recevoir la règle des chanoines réguliers de l'abbaye d'Arrouaise, fondée dans le diocèse d'Arras, il y avait environ quatre-vingts ans, et qui jouissait d'une si haute réputation de sainteté, qu'elle devint le chef-lieu d'une congrégation nombreuse. Cet établissement du saint archevêque a subsisté jusqu'en 1541, que Henri VIII changea la communauté en chapitre. Laurent prit lui-même l'habit de chanoine régulier, et il le portait toujours sous celui qui était propre à sa dignité. Il mangeait au réfectoire, gardait le silence aux heures prescrites, et assistait à matines qui se disaient à minuit. Ordinairement il restait dans l'église jusqu'au jour, puis, il allait prier pour les morts dans le cimetière. Jamais il ne mangeait de viande. Il jeûnait tous les Vendredis au pain et à l'eau , et souvent il ne prenait ces jours-là aucune nourriture. Il portait un rude cilice, et prenait fréquemment la discipline. Indépendamment des malheureux qu'il assistait par ses aumônes, il nourrissait chaque jour dans son palais trente pauvres et souvent plus. Il avait le même zèle pour les besoins spirituels de son troupeau ; il était surtout très exact à leur annoncer la parole de Dieu. Pour ranimer sa ferveur, il passait de temps en temps quelques jours dans la solitude. Il se retirait ordinairement au monastère de Glendenoch , dont un de ses neveux était abbé ; mais il logeait de préférence dans une grotte située à quelque distance du monastère, et dans laquelle saint Coêmgen avait autrefois vécu. Lorsqu'il sortait de la retraite, comme un autre Moïse qui vient de s'entretenir avec Dieu, il paraissait rempli d'un feu céleste et d'une lumière toute divine.
Malheureusement la plupart de ses diocésains avaient peu de piété, et il voyait ses soins perdus par rapport à eux. Ils étaient insensibles à la crainte des jugements de Dieu, et à tous les motifs que le saint évêque faisait valoir ; mais ils furent bientôt en proie aux calamités qu'il leur avait prédites. Le malheur public servit à purifier la vertu des bons chrétiens, et à ramener au Seigneur un grand nombre de pécheurs qui avaient été jusqu'alors incorrigibles. Diermeth ou Dermot, Roi de Leinster, ayant ravi la femme du roi Méath, celui-ci implora la protection de Rodéric, monarque d'Irlande. Dermot fut dépouillé de ses états. Richard de Clare, communément appelé Strongbow, comte de Pembroke, vint à son secours avec plusieurs gentilshommes anglais, et ce qu'il avait de plus brave parmi ses vassaux. Il débarqua à Waterford, et fit la conquête d'une grande partie de l'Irlande. Dermot étant mort en 1172. Strongbow, institué son héritier, réclama le royaume de Leinster. Il prit Dublin, où il mit le feu, et massacra une partie des habitants. Durant ce désastre, Laurent s'occupa des moyens de pourvoir au soulagement des malheureux ; il les exhortait tous à faire un bon usage de leurs afflictions, et il adoucissait leurs maux autant qu'il était en lui, en tâchant de fléchir les vainqueurs.
Cette conquête ne fut commencée que par quelques gentilshommes particuliers. Mais leurs succès donnèrent bientôt de l'ombrage à la cour d'Angleterre. Le roi d'Angleterre rappela Strongbow et ses associés ; mais ceux-ci protestèrent que c'était au nom du Roi qu'ils avaient conquis l'Irlande. Henri crut devoir passer dans cette île. Il vint à Dublin en 1172, et y reçut l'hommage de tous les princes, sans en excepter Rodéric, Roi de Connaught, monarque d'Irlande ; tous le reconnurent pour leur seigneur el 'pour leur souverain.
Quelque temps après, saint Laurent fut obligé de faire un voyage en Angleterre pour les affaires de son diocèse. A son arrivée , le Roi se trouvait à Cantorbéry. Il alla l'y voir. Les moines de Crist'schurch le reçurent avec la distinction due à sa sainteté , et le prièrent de chanteï la messe le lendemain. Laurent passa la nuit devant la châsse de saint Thomas de Cantorbéry, auquel il recommanda le succès des affaires qui l'amenaient en Angleterre. Le lendemain , comme il allait à l'autel, un insensé , qui avait entendu parler de sa sainteté, lui déchargea sur la tête un coup si violent, qu'il fut renversé par terre. Sa folie était d'en faire un martyr et un autre saint Thomas. On crut que le coup était mortel, et tous exprimèrent leur douleur par leurs larmes. Le saint évêque revenu à lui-même, demanda de l'eau qu'il bénit avec le signe de la croix , et voulut qu'on s'en servît pour laver sa plaie. Son sang s'arrêta sur-le-champ, et il dit la messe. L'auteur qui rapporte ce miracle, et qui en fut témoin oculaire, assure qu'on remarqua après la mort du Saint, qu'il avait une fracture au crâne. Le Roi voulut faire mettre à mort l'assassin ; mais Laurent intercéda pour lui, et obtint sa grâce. Le Pape Alexandre III, pour procurer la réformation des mœurs et l'extirpation des hérésies , avait assemblé le troisième concile général de Latran, à Rome, en 1179. II s'y trouva trois cents évêques. Saint Laurent y alla d'Angleterre , avec l'archevêque de Tuam et neuf évêques, cinq Irlandais et quatre Anglais. Il exposa au Pape l'état de l'église d'Irlande, en le priant de remédier aux désordres qui y régnaient, et d'en maintenir les libertés. Alexandre acquiesça à sa demande, il fit les règlements qu'il désirait, et le créa légat du Saint-Siège dans le royaume d'Irlande. Laurent partit de Rome, bien résolu d'exécuter avec zèle la commission dont il était chargé.
A son arrivée en Irlande, il trouva son diocèse affligé d'une famine cruelle qui dura trois ans. Il se fit une loi de nourrir tous les jours cinquante étrangers et trois cents pauvres. Cela ne l'empêchait pas de fournir aux besoins d'un grand nombre de personnes qui étaient dans l'indigence. Les mères qui ne pouvaient entretenir leurs enfants, les exposaient à la porte du palais de l'archevêque, ou dans les lieux par lesquels il devait passer. Le Saint en prenait soin, et souvent il en nourrissait jusqu'à trois cents à la fois.
Déronog, un des rois d'Irlande, avait offensé Henri II; Laurent fit un voyage en Angleterre, dans l'espérance de parvenir à les réconcilier. Mais Henri ne voulut point entendre parler de paix, et il s'embarqua pour la Normandie immédiatement après l'arrivée du Saint. Laurent se relira dans le monastère d'Abingdon, où il passa trois semaines. Il partit ensuite pour la France, afin de faire de nouvelles tentatives auprès du Roi d'Angleterre. Henri persista toujours dans son refus. Il se laissa cependant toucher à la fin, et Laurent obtint tout ce qu'il demandait. Le Roi s'en rapporta même à lui sur les conditions.
Après avoir rempli la commission que la charité lui avait fait entreprendre, il tomba malade, et la fièvre qui le prit en chemin, l'obligea de s'arrêter en route. Il se retira dans le monastère des chanoines réguliers de la ville d'Eu, qui est à l'entrée de la Normandie. Cette maison, qui était alors une dépendance de l'abbaye de Saint-Victor de Paris, appartient aujourd'hui à la congrégation de France. Le Saint dit en y entrant : C'est là le lieu de mon repos pour toujours, j'y demeurerai, parce que je l'ai choisi. Il se confessa à l'abbé, qui lui administra l'Extrême-onction et le Saint-Viatique. Quelqu'un lui ayant proposé de faire son testament, il répondit : « De quoi me parlez-vous ? Je remercie Dieu de n'avoir pas un sou dans le monde dont je puisse disposer. » II mourut le 14 Novembre 1181, et fut enterré dans l'église de l'abbaye. Thibaud, archevêque de Rouen, et trois autres commissaires firent, par ordre du Pape Honorius III, une information juridique sur plusieurs miracles opérés par l'intercession du saint archevêque de Dublin, et envoyèrent leur procès-verbal à Rome. Honorius canonisa le serviteur de Dieu, en 1226, et il parle, dans sa bulle, de sept morts ressuscites. L'année suivante, le corps de saint Laurent fut levé de terre. La châsse qui le renferme se garde encore dans l'abbaye de Notre-Dame d'Eu, et est placée au-dessus du grand autel.
On a donné quelques petites portions de ses reliques à d'autres églises. Celle de l'abbaye où reposent les corps de plusieurs comtes d'Eu, de Ponthieu, etc., ainsi que ceux de plusieurs princes de la maison de Bourbon, est présentement divisée en deux vastes églises, dont l'une sert de paroisse et porte le nom de saint Laurent, qui est le principal patron de la ville. On y célèbre tous les ans trois fêtes en son honneur ; l'une au mois de Novembre, l'autre au mois d'août, et la troisième au mois de mai. A quelque distance de la ville est une chapelle bâtie à l'endroit où le clergé et les magistrats allèrent le complimenter, lorsqu'ils eurent appris son arrivée. La ville d'Eu est remplie de monuments qui attestent sa vénération pour saint Laurent, et on n'y en voit plus aucun d’Henri II, qui l'honora souvent de sa présence.
Si la vertu, le zèle, les prières et les miracles de saint Laurent ne touchèrent point plusieurs pécheurs endurcis, dont il désirait la conversion, nous ne devons pas nous en étonner. Nous savons que la plupart des Juifs , surtout des pharisiens, refusèrent d'écouter le Sauveur du monde. Si les travaux d'un pasteur étaient toujours suivis du succès, il ne pratiquerait pas la patience qui conduit à la perfection, et qui mérite la couronne. La perversité, la malice, l'opiniâtreté des pécheurs ne doit donc ni le troubler, ni le décourager. Plus leur aveuglement est grand, plus leurs maladies spirituelles paraissent désespérées, plus il est obligé de les supporter avec patience, et de prier avec ferveur pour leur salut. Il peut toujours espérer, tant que Dieu les laisse sur la terre. Peut-être n'aura-t-il pas toujours l'occasion d'exhorter ; peut-être même la prudence le forcera-t-elle de dissimuler le mal pour un temps. Qu'il se prosterne alors devant le Père des miséricordes, et qu'il demande la conversion des âmes rachetées par le sang de Jésus-Christ.
SOURCE : Alban Butler : Vie des Pères, Martyrs et autres principaux Saints… – Traduction : Jean-François Godescard.SOURCE : http://nouvl.evangelisation.free.fr/laurent_otoole.htm

Saint Laurent de Dublin

Abbé de Glendalough, et archevêque de Dublin ( 1180)

Saint Laurent O'Toole appartenait à cette famille royale qui donna tant de rois à l'Irlande. Elu pour devenir évêque, il fut un modèle de sainteté. En 1179, nous le trouvons au concile général du Latran où le Pape Alexandre III le créa son légat pour toute l'Irlande. Venu en Angleterre pour être médiateur entre le roi Henri II et le roi d'Irlande, il devint otage et ne put rentrer dans son pays. Il partit donc pour la France. Accueilli par les chanoines de Saint-Victor à Eu en Normandie, il rendit son âme à Dieu dans la paix et la pauvreté totale.

"...il tomba malade à Eu au cours de l’automne 1180. Il fut recueilli par les chanoines de l’abbaye de Eu où il mourut en odeur de sainteté. Les miracles se multipliant sur son tombeau, l’archevêque fut canonisé par le pape en 1225..." (Ville d'Eu - patrimoine, chapelle, abbatiale où se trouve le gisant de saint Laurent O’Toole, un des plus anciens de la région)


En Normandie, l’an 1180, le trépas de saint Laurent O’Toole, évêque de Dublin. Dans les circonstances difficiles de son temps, il défendit avec énergie la discipline de l’Église et s’appliqua à rétablir la concorde entre les princes. En allant au-devant du roi Henri II d’Angleterre, il obtint lui-même les joies de la paix éternelle.


14 novembre

Saint Laurent (Lorcan) O'Toole est le fils d'un chef de clan résidant à Castledermot, au comté de Kildare, en Irlande. Victime des guerres de clans, il est envoyé à l’âge de 10 ans comme otage. D’abord hébergé au château, il est ensuite transféré dans un endroit très isolé où ses conditions de vie sont particulièrement pénibles. Rendu à sa famille deux ans plus tard, il fait part de son désir de consacrer sa vie à Dieu. Il entre alors comme novice chez les Augustiniens du monastère de Glendalough et y demeure plus de vingt ans, d’abord comme moine puis comme abbé. En 1161, il succède à Grégoire, l’archevêque de Dublin, puis entreprend des réformes importantes de son clergé, s’astreignant à une discipline sévère tout en offrant l’hospitalité aux pauvres. Il intervient également comme arbitre dans plusieurs conflits de nature politique et agit comme missionnaire de la paix. En 1171, il échappe miraculeusement à la mort après avoir été victime d'une tentative d'assassinat survenue au moment où il s'apprêtait à célébrer la messe lors d’un séjour à Canterbury (Angleterre). Finalement, il tombe gravement malade durant une traversée de la Manche, alors qu’il accompagne le roi Henry II en Normandie. Il décède peu de temps après que le bateau ait accosté dans une petite crique des environs du Tréport et son corps est transporté à l’Abbaye Saint-Victor d’Eu (1128-1180).

SOURCE : http://religion-orthodoxe.eu/article-saint-laurent-o-toole-1180-88658491.html

St. Lawrence O'Toole

St. Lawrence, was born about the year 1125. When only ten years old, his father delivered him up as a hostage to Dermod Mac Murehad, King of Leinster, who treated the child with great inhumanity, until his father obliged the tyrant to put him in the hands of the Bishop of Glendalough, in the county of Wicklow.

The holy youth, by his fidelity in corresponding with the divine grace, grew to be a model of virtues. On the death of the bishop, who was also abbot of the monastery, St. Lawrence was chosen abbot in 1150, though he was only twenty-five years old, and governed his numerous community with wonderful virtue and prudence.

In 1161 St. Lawrence was unanimously chosen to fill the new metropolitan See of Dublin. About the year 1171 he was obliged, for the affairs of his diocese, to go over to England to see the king, Henry II, who was then at Canterbury.

The Saint was received by the Benedictine monks of Christ Church with the greatest honor and respect. On the following day, as the holy archbishop was going to the altar to officiate, a maniac, who had heard much of his sanctity, and who was led on by the idea of making so holy a man another St. Thomas, struck him a violent blow on the head.

All present concluded that he was mortally wounded; but the Saint came to himself, asked for some water, blessed it, and having his wound washed with it, the blood was immediately stopped, and the Archbishop celebrated Mass.

In 1175 Henry II of England became offended with Roderic, the monarch of Ireland, and St. Lawrence undertook another journey to England to negotiate a reconciliation between them. Henry was so moved by his piety, charity, and prudence that he granted him everything he asked, and left the whole negotiation to his discretion.

Our Saint ended his journey here below on the 14th of November, 1180, and was buried in the church of the abbey at Eu, on the confines of Normandy. His feast day is November 14th.




St. Lawrence O'Toole

LORCAN UA TUATHAIL; also spelled Laurence O'Toole)

Confessor, born about 1128, in the present County Kildare; died 14 November, 1180, at Eu in Normandy; canonized in 1225 by Honorius III.

His father was chief of Hy Murray, and his mother one of the Clan O'Byrne. At the age of ten he was taken as a hostage by Dermot McMurrogh, King of Leinster. In 1140 the boy obtained permission to enter the monastic school of Glendalough; in that valley-sanctuary he studied for thirteen years, conspicuous for his piety and learning. So great was his reputation in the eyes of the community that on the death of Abbot Dunlaing, early in 1154, he was unanimously called to preside over the Abbey of St. Kevin. Dermot, King of Leinster, married Mor, sister of St. Lawrence, and, though his character has been painted in dark colours by the native annalists, he was a great friend to the Church. He founded an Austin nunnery, of the reform of Aroaise, in Dublin, with two dependent cells at Kilculliheen (County Kilkenny) and at Aghade (County Carlow), in 1151. He also founded an abbey for Cistercian monks at Baltinglass, and an abbey for Austin canons at Ferns.

St. Lawrence, through humility, declined the See of Glendalough in 1160, but on the death of Gregory, Archbishop of Dublin (8 October, 1161), he was chosen to the vacant see, and was consecrated in Christ Church cathedral by Gilla Isu (Gelasius), Primate of Armagh, early in the following year. This appointment of a native-born Irishman and his consecration by the successor of St. Patrick marks the passing of Scandinavian supremacy in the Irish capital, and the emancipation from canonical obedience to Canterbury which had obtained under the Danish bishops of Dublin. St. Lawrence soon set himself to effect numerous reforms, commencing by converting the secular canons of Christ Church cathedral into Aroasian canons (1163). Three years later he subscribed to the foundation charter of All Hallows priory, Dublin (founded by King Dermot), for the same order of Austin canons. Not content with the strictest observance of rules, he wore a hair shirt underneath his episcopal dress, and practised the greatest austerity, retiring for an annual retreat of forty days to St. Kevin's cave, near Glendalough. At the second siege of Dublin (1170) St. Lawrence was active in ministration, and he showed his political foresight by paying due deference to Henry II of England, during that monarch's stay in Dublin. In April, 1178, he entertained the papal legate, Cardinal Vivian, who presided at the Synod of Dublin. He successfully negotiated the Treaty of Windsor, and secured good terms for Roderic, King of Connacht. He attended the Lateran Council in 1179, and returned as legate for Ireland. The holy prelate was not long in Dublin till he deemed it necessary again to visit King Henry II (impelled by a burning charity in the cause of King Roderic), and he crossed to England in September of that year. After three weeks of detention at Abingdon Abbey, St. Lawrence followed the English King to Normandy. Taken ill at the Augustinian Abbey of Eu, he was tended by Abbot Osbert and the canons of St. Victor; before he breathed his last he had the consolation of learning that King Henry had acceded to his request.


Grattan-Flood, William. "St. Lawrence O'Toole." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company,1910. 14 Nov. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09091b.htm>.

Transcription. Dedicated to the Parish of St. Laurence O'Toole in Laramie, Wyoming.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09091b.htm


Laurence O'Toole, OSA B (RM)
(also known as Lorcan O'Tuathail)


Born at Castledermot, Kildare, Ireland, 1128; died at Eu, Normandy, France, on November 14, 1180; canonized 1225 by Pope Honorius III. Born Lorcan O'Tuathail (or ua Tuathail), his mother was an O'Byrne and his father Murtagh O'Tuathail, a Leinster chieftain of the Murrays--both sides were of princely stock. In the 2nd century, the Celt Tuathail was one of the great Irish kings. Another of the line reigned in 533. One of the seven churches of Glendalough served as the burial site for many generations of O'Tuathails.



When Lorcan was born his family had been ousted from their ancient throne and Dermot MacMurrough was the representative of the usurping line. Dermot was a large, violent, war-loving, vocal man hated by strangers and feared by his own people. (It was he who invited King Henry of England to come and take possession of Ireland.) Nevertheless, Lorcan's father had many soldiers, servants, land, and cattle.

At age 10 Lorcan was sent to Dermot as a hostage to guarantee his father's fidelity to the new order. For a time Lorcan lived in Dermot's castle, until the day his father refused to obey an order. Lorcan was taken to a stony, barren region, to be punished for his father's sin. At the end of the journey was a miserable, dilapidated hut with a leaky roof. There he forced to practice austerity because he was given only enough bread and greens and water to keep him alive, no clothes, and no companionship except a guard. For two years he lived in this desolate manner until threats restored him to his father.
The bishop of Glendalough was the mediator between Dermot and O'Tuathail and young Lorcan was sent across the hills to him. The bishop first introduced Lorcan in Saint Kevin's sanctuary to the quiet recollectedness of Christian life and studies. His father arrived a few days later and, in thanksgiving for the safe return of his son, proposed dedicating one of his sons--to be chosen by casting lots--to the service of God and Saint Kevin. Lorcan laughed for the only time in his dolorous life, telling his father that he would most willingly choose God as his inheritance.

So, he became a student at the school for novices in Glendalough, where he stayed for 22 years as novice, monk, then abbot. Lorcan's character was annealed in the ascetic training of the early Irish Church whose austerities would seem fabulous if they were not well authenticated. He stood in the direct descent of Saint Kevin and the early anchorites of Glendalough, spending each Lent throughout his life in lonely, but joyful, contemplation on the rocky shelf beneath Saint Kevin's monastery, and practicing austerities as a normal part of his life.

The tall, extremely thin Lorcan was elected abbot in 1153 at the age of 25. His tenure of office gave him the widest exercise of ruling men (abbots in Ireland even overruled bishops). Within the household he had to reckon with the envy and malice provided by his early elevation; outside the enclosure he had distress to alleviate in the mountainous lands that gave precarious support to the population, and he had to ensure peace and order along roads harassed by robbers.

Lorcan's unbounded charity first became evident during a famine that marked the beginning of his office. He used the resources of the monastery and also his father's fortune to minister to the poor as a servant, rather than a prelate. He spent freely on church building, and from this period dates the beautiful priory of Saint Saviour's at the eastern end of the valley.

After four years of service as abbot, his spiritual stature was so plainly evident that men sought to make him bishop of Glendalough. He refused stating that he was not of canonical age. For 10 years the administration of the monastery engaged his full zeal and charity; he was in touch with the great reform synod of Kells in 1152. His name is inscribed on the 1161 charter of the new Augustinian foundation at Ferns, where years later the fugitive King Dermot, its founder, sought a monk's disguise when he was deserted by his kinsmen and friends.

In 1161 Gregory, archbishop of Dublin, died and Lorcan was unanimously elected to succeed him by Danish and native clergy and laity, including the High King O'Loughlin and even his former captor, Dermot McMurrough, who was now married to Lorcan's sister Mor.

Momentously for the Irish Church, Lorcan was consecrated the following year in the Danish Christ Church, Dublin, founded by Sitric, which had never seen a native prelate. And the sacrament was conferred by Gelasius of Armagh, the primate, in the presence of his suffragan bishops. Dublin had been a Norse town for 300 years, and, because the Norse were evangelized by Anglo-Saxons, the Irish Church had always looked to Canterbury rather than Armagh. The vicissitudes of his immediate predecessor are evidence of the racial and ecclesiastical jealousies that his election allayed and the manner of his consecration (at the hands of the Irish primate, rather than the English one) is signal testimony to the new consolidation of the Irish hierarchy, which was a principal object of the Irish Reform movement in the 12th century.

Reform was necessary because the monastic system had been corrupted under the Norse rule during which the abbot or comarba who ruled the monastery as heir of the saintly founder was commonly a layman. The vices of laicisation were rampant, even in the primatial see of Armagh which was in lay hands for generations. There was a collateral necessity to organize according to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church; the authority of the bishop, archbishop, and primate had to be defined and established upon a territorial basis.

Behind every reform movement there is a saint. In Ireland that person was Saint Malachy, having as precursors Cellach of Armagh and Gilbert of Limerick. Their movement carried on from synod to synod beginning with Rath Bresail in 1111, achieved its main purpose in the synod of Kells in 1152, when among other decisions the sees of Dublin and Tuam were erected to archbishoprics and the number and limits of the present dioceses were substantially fixed. Minor outstanding disciplinary reforms were completed in synods held in 1162, 1167, and 1172--all of which were attended by Lorcan.

After his consecration Lorcan had to move from being an 'other worldly' man to a man of the world. He might have lamented like Saint Bernard: "I am become the chimaera of my century, neither cleric nor layman." Nevertheless, Lorcan managed with saintly charm to integrate his inner and outer life. Tall, graceful Lorcan wore the bishop's vestments with dignity, and a hairshirt underneath, for example.

He dispensed discreetly liberal hospitality to rich and poor in his home beside his cathedral; among rich foods choosing for himself the plainest and coloring water with wine for courtesy and company's sake. Each day at his table 30 to 60 of the poor dined among his other guests that the rich may be encouraged to do the same. From the day he donned the white Augustinian robes he never ate meat, and on Fridays he fasted on bread and water.

Three times daily he used the discipline (self-flagellation); his nights were lonely vigils or spent in the choir. Assiduous in attendance at Divine Office, when at dawn the canons left the choir for their cells, he remained in solitary prayer. Twice during his long periods of adoration, the Corpus on the Crucifix before the kneeling prelate spoke. When day came he regularly went out to the cemetery to chant the office of the dead. His life was what the old Irish homily calls the "white martyrdom" of abnegation and labor.

The bull of his canonization recites his constancy in prayer and his austere mortification. These were the secret springs of his energy and profuse charity. This white-robed figure of whose speech hardly four sentences remain is seen always in the gracious gesture of giving and with the gravity of silence about him.

Crowds depend upon him, recognizing in him a source of supernatural power. The records of his canonization attest to his miracles. He lived through two famines and two sieges and saw the city of his adoption sacked. He moves through hardships with the equilibrium of the saint and a saint's equal mind. But also with the saint's energy.

He had hardly taken his episcopal seat when his zeal turned to the reform of his clergy. His predecessors had been trained in a milder climate and under laxer monastic rules. The service of the cathedral had suffered. Looking abroad for a model he persuaded his secular canons to join him in community life as Augustinian regulars of the Arroasian Rule and converted the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity into a priory. His community became a school for bishops: Albin of Ferns, Marianus of Cork, and Malachy of Louth who were subsequent witnesses to his sanctity.

In the Irish monasteries psalmody occupied a central place in the monk's life. Lorcan raised the Gregorian chant, still so little heard in Irish churches, to its proper place about the altar and restored its appropriate splendor to the Divine Office. He commended the rebuilding of the cathedral and added to the number of parish churches.

During a famine which afflicted the city that destitute flocked to his doors. He exerted himself in the public relief, not merely by prodigally multiplying his personal charities but by organized assistance, quartering the city poor upon the abbey lands of his cathedral--Swords, Lusk, and Finglas. When these were filled and the famine still continued, he sent others farther afield throughout Ireland, recommending them to the popular charity and chartering a vessel at great cost to convey others to England.

King Dermot McMurrough is often associated with Lorcan in these charities, but Dermot's later actions invited the Anglo-Normans into Ireland. Dermot abducted Dervorgilla, wife of Prince Tiernan O'Rourke of Brefni. In 1166, O'Rourke and his allies reduced Dermot to ruin. He sailed to England for help, taking with him his daughter Eva, Bishop O'Toole's niece, whose beauty and nobility made her a desirable as a potential spouse. Although King Henry II of England was still engaged in his conflict against Saint Thomas Becket and Aquitaine, he saw the revolt and Dermot's arrival as an opportunity to realize his designs to possess Ireland.

Then came the scourge of war in 1170, King Henry promised Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke ("Strongbow"), the hand of the beautiful Eva and succession to the throne of Leinster. He dispatched Strongbow at the head of an army of nobles and his Anglo-Norman adventurers landed in Ireland and took Waterford. Richard de Clare married Lorcan's niece Eva in Waterford Cathedral before marching on to Dublin.

The rest of Lorcan's episcopate was conditioned by the events that followed. He was in the very act of negotiating terms with Dermot, when the city was seized by Strongbow's sudden, treacherous irruption, and the peacemaker turned to save the wounded, to bury his dead, to guard ecclesiastical property from spoliation, and to recover the looted Church vessels and books.

Thoroughly aroused for his country, the saint urged a united front under King Roderick (Rory, Ruaidri) O'Connor. Henceforth he had to double as both a Mercier soldier and a Saint Vincent de Paul. The princes of Ireland were moved to action by the patriotic zeal of the archbishop, who joined with Ruaidri in rallying the country and its allies, sending missives abroad to Gottred of Man and to the other lords of the Isles.

When Dermot died suddenly, the Earl of Pembroke declared himself king of Leinster, but was recalled to England by Henry. Before Pembroke could return, the Irish united behind O'Connor, and the earl barricaded himself in Dublin as the Irish forces attacked. While Lorcan was trying to effect a settlement, Pembroke suddenly attacked and won an unexpected victory.

The rest of Lorcan's political life was busied with embassies of peace. When Henry II came to Dublin in October 1171. Although his real purpose was to receive the submission of the Irish princes, he publicly denounced the misconduct of the English in Ireland, portraying a benevolent king on a mission of welfare. His overture was rejected by Bishop Gelasius, the high king, and the northern princes, but the princes of the south took King Henry at face value. The patriot Lorcan journeyed to Connaught to call forth the dissident nobility.

Henry arranged with the papal legate, Christian of Lismore, for the convocation of a synod at Cashel. The English king's decrees presented nothing not already observed in Ireland, except the celebration of the Divine Office according to the English usage. At this time, Armagh was recognized as the primatial see of Ireland under the submission of no see but that of Rome. This was the beginning of the Irish "troubles" with England that were to endure for another eight centuries. On the strength of such fair assurances the leaders of both Church and State accepted Henry.

Then Henry began to distribute Crown lands, until he was forced to leave Ireland in April 1172 in the face of threatened excommunication for the murder of Thomas Becket. In the meantime, Henry's envoys reached Rome with the news of his success in Ireland. Henry was pardoned by Pope Alexander III after walking through the streets barefoot in penance.

In 1175 the situation is reversed; Lorcan is Ruaidri's (Rory O'Connor) envoy to King Henry II, sent to negotiate the Treaty of Windsor, a mission that required the high qualities of skill and statesmanship, where the contracting parties represented the feudal system opposed to Irish law and custom.

The task was not made easier by a mischance that occurred. While saying Mass at the shrine of Saint Thomas at Canterbury, a madman who had heard of Lorcan's reputation for sanctity, thought that he would meritoriously make another martyr and felled the saint to the ground with a club before the high altar. The traces of this blow on the head were verified by the Cardinal Archbishop of Rouen in 1876 on examining the body. Unlike the martyred Becket, Lorcan was able to finish the Mass.

Meanwhile synods had been held at Armagh, Cashel, and Dublin, which Lorcan attended in his subordinate place. None of them shows any trace of his leadership or statesmanship.

In 1178, Henry II provided his son John with the title "Dominus Hiberiae," which was not as exalted as the royal title allowed by Rome in order to ensure Ireland's subordinate position. That same year, the papal legate to Scotland and Ireland, Cardinal Vivian, arrived in Ireland. He was indignant at the incursions and slaughter of the invading de Courcy, whom he admonished to withdraw. When his command was unheeded, the cardinal exhorted King MacDunlevy of Ulster to defend his country.

In 1179, Lorcan left for Rome to attend the Third General Lateran Council with five other Irish bishops, more than attended from Scotland and England combined. On their passage through England, Henry compelled them to promise not to seek anything at the council that was prejudicial to the king or his kingdom.

Some 300 bishops attended the council, and from that great assembly Lorcan passed into the closest confidence of the Holy See. He obtained from Alexander III a bull confirming the rights and privileges of the see of Dublin. Jurisdiction was conferred over five suffragan sees and the pope took the archbishop's church in Dublin and all its possessions under Saint Peter's protection and his own, defining and confirming its possessions and ensuring it and the property of his suffragans by strictest penalties against any lay or ecclessial interference. Finally, on his return home Alexander gave him the supreme mark of his confidence in naming Lorcan as papal legate.

In the brief space of life that was left to him, Lorcan exercised his new powers with exemplary decision. With the invaders new abuses had crept amongst his clergy. Some abuses he refused to forgive and dispatched at least 140 clerics to Rome.

Henry was not pleased with the steps Lorcan had taken in Rome. A new Thomas Becket had touched his authority. And, therefore, on a final peace mission for Ruaidri, when Lorcan crossed the Irish Sea to take the king's son as a hostage to Henry, he found the Channel ports closed against his return by royal edict. After three weeks of virtual imprisonment in the monastery of Abingdon, Lorcan followed the king to Normandy. He landed near Treport at a cove which still bears his name, Saint-Laurent. There the saint fell ill and was taken to Saint Victor's abbey at Eu, where he was received by the monks and where his bones still rest.

A priest companion was sent to find Henry. He brought back word that Henry would again meet with King Rory. Saint Lorcan had done all that he could.

Only two sentences are recorded of his last hours. Asked by the abbot to make his will: "God knows, I have not a penny under the sun." A little later a farewell in his native tongue, thinking of his own people.

A good and just man, Giraldus calls him; he died in exile--an exile and a fugitive, the Abbot Hugues wrote to Innocent III, pro libertate ecclesiae--an exile as well, he might have written, of charity and patriotism.

So many miracles were reported at his tomb that less than five years after his death, his remains were enclosed in a crystal case and translated to a place of special honor before the high altar of the church at Eu. The canons and faithful of that city forwarded his formal canonization.

His life was written and rewritten at Eu from information eagerly gathered by the canons from the saint's disciples and other pilgrims from Ireland who journeyed to his shrine; from his nephew Thomas, Abbot of Glendalough; his intimates Albin, bishop of Ferns, Marianus of Cork, and Malachy of Louth; and from Jean Comyn, who succeeded him in the see of Dublin. In 1225, 45 years after his death, he was canonized by Honorius III and thereupon became patron of the archdiocese of Dublin (Attwater, Curran, Curtayne, Curtis, D'Arcy, Delaney, Healy, Kenney, Legris, Messingham, O'Hanlon, Plummer, Sullivan).

SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/1114.shtml


Cœur de Saint Laurent O'Toole (Lorcán Ua Tuathail) 
dans la Peace Chapel of Saint Laud, cathédrale Christ Church de Dublin



St. Laurence, Archbishop of Dublin, Confessor

From his life authentically written by a regular canon of Eu, not many years after his death, in Surius: Chron. Rotomag. F. Fontenai, Contin. de l’Hist. de l’Eglise de France, l. 31, p. 46, &c.

A.D. 1180.

LAURENCE 1 was youngest son to Maurice O’Toole, 2 a rich and powerful prince in Leinster, whose ancestors for many ages had been princes of the territories of Hy-Murray, and Hy-Mal, in the vicinity of Dublin. Laurence was but ten years old when his father delivered him up a hostage to Dermod Mac Murchad, king of Leinster. 3 The barbarous king kept the child in a desert place, where he was treated with great inhumanity; till his father being informed that by such usage his son had fallen into a bad state of health, obliged the tyrant to put him into the hands of the pious bishop of Glendaloch, 4 by whom he was carefully instructed in the service of God, and at twelve years of age sent back to his father. Maurice took Laurence with him, and went to thank the good bishop. At the same time he mentioned to that prelate his design of casting lots which of his four sons he should destine to the service of the church. Laurence, who was present, was justly startled at such a mad superstitious project, but glad to find so favourable an overture to his desires, cried out with great earnestness: “There is no need of casting lots. It is my most hearty desire to have for my inheritance no other portion than God in the service of the church.” Hereupon the father, taking him by the hand, offered him to God by delivering him to the bishop, in whose hands he left him, having first recommended him to the patronage of St. Coëmgen, founder of the great monastery there, and patron of that diocess, which has been since united to the see of Dublin. The good prelate performed excellently the part of an Ananias to his pupil, who, by his fidelity in corresponding with the divine grace, deserved to find the Holy Ghost an interior master in all virtues, especially humility and the spirit of prayer.

Upon the death of the bishop of Glendaloch, who was at the same time abbot of the monastery, Laurence, though but twenty-five years old, was chosen abbot, and only shunned the episcopal dignity by alleging that the canons require in a bishop thirty years of age. The saint governed his numerous community with admirable virtue and prudence, and in a great famine which raged during the first four months of his administration, like another Joseph, was the saviour of his country by his boundless charities. Trials, however, were not wanting for the exercise of his virtue. For certain false brethren whose eyes could not bear the refulgency of his virtue, the regularity of his conduct, and the zeal with which he condemned their disorders, attacked his reputation by slanders, to which he opposed no other arms than silence and patience.

Gregory, the archbishop of Dublin, 5 happening to die about the time that our saint was thirty years of age, he was unanimously chosen to fill that metropolitical see, and was consecrated in 1162, by Gelasius, archbishop of Armagh, and successor of St. Malachy. In this exalted station he watched over himself and his flock with fear, and with unwearied application to every part of his office, having always before his eyes the account which he was to give to the sovereign pastor of souls. His first care was to reform the manners of his clergy, and to furnish his church with worthy ministers. His exhortations to others were most powerful, because enforced with sweetness and vigour, animated with an apostolic spirit, and strongly impressed by the admirable example of his own life, which every one who had any sparks of piety in his breast, was ashamed to see himself fall so infinitely short of. About the year 1163, he engaged the secular canons of his cathedral of the Holy Trinity, 6 to receive the rule of the regular canons of Arouasia, an abbey which was founded in the diocess of Arras about fourscore years before, with such reputation for sanctity and discipline, that it became the head or mother house of a numerous congregation. Our saint took himself the religious habit, which he always wore under his pontifical attire. He usually ate with the religious in the refectory, observed their hours of silence, and always assisted with them at the midnight office; after which he continued a long time in the church in private prayer before a crucifix, and towards break of day went to the burial-place to pour forth certain prayers for the souls of the faithful departed. He never ate flesh, and fasted all Fridays, on bread and water, and oftentimes without taking any sustenance at all. He wore a rough hair shirt, and used frequent disciplines. Every day he entertained at table thirty poor persons, and often many more, besides great numbers which he maintained in private houses. All found him a father both in their temporal and spiritual necessities; and he was most indefatigable in the sacred functions of his charge, especially in announcing assiduously to his flock the word of life. To watch over, and examine more narrowly into his own heart and conduct, and to repair his interior spirit, he used often to retire for some days into some close solitude. When he was made bishop, King Dermod Mac Murchad preferred to the abbey of Glendaloch, one so notoriously unworthy of that dignity, that he was in a short time expelled, and Thomas, a nephew of the saint, by whom he had been brought up, was canonically elected. By the care of this young, pious, and learned abbot, discipline and piety again flourished in that house. And from that time St. Laurence frequently made choice of Glendaloch for his retreats; but he usually hid himself in a solitary cave at some distance from the monastery, between a rock and a deep lake, in which St. Coëmgen had lived. When our saint came out of those retreats he seemed like another Moses coming from conversing with God, full of a heavenly fire and divine light.

St. Laurence found the greater part of his flock so blinded with the love of the world, and enslaved to their passions, that the zealous pains he took seemed lost upon them. He threatened them with the divine judgments in case they did not speedily and effectually reform their manners by sincere repentance: but, like Noë when he preached to a world drowned in sin, he seemed to them to speak in jest, till they were overtaken on a sudden by those calamities which he had foretold, which served to purify the elect, and, doubtless, brought many who before had been deaf to the saint’s remonstrances, to a sense of their spiritual miseries. Dermod Mac Murchad, king of Leinster, having violated the wife of Tigernan O’Ruarc, (prince of Breffny and occasional administrator of Meath,) Tordelvach O’Connor, then monarch of Ireland, took cognizance of the injury, and obliged the violator to restore that princess to her family, together with her effects. So slight a reparation of a public as well as domestic crime, involved bad consequences. Dermod, growing daring from impunity, became intolerable to his vassals, whom he despoiled by various acts of tyranny, and Roderic, the son and successor of Tordelvach on the throne of Ireland, was put under the necessity of expelling him from his government of Leinster. To gratify his revenge, and regain his former power, Dermod solicited the aid of Henry II. king of England, a very powerful monarch, who scrupled not to permit some of his subjects to join their arms to the tyrant’s. The times were favourable to that attempt, and the adventurers found but a weak resistance from a monarch ill obeyed and from a people divided by internal factions. Dermod’s success in this event was principally due to Richard earl of Pembroke, commonly called Strongbow, who brought with him several noblemen, with the best soldiers among their vassals; and, having landed at Waterford, overran the greater part of Leinster and Ossory. Dermod dying in 1171, the earl of Pembroke being left his heir, claimed the principality of Leinster, (in right of his wife, Eva, who was Dermod’s daughter,) took Dublin sword in hand, and massacred a great number of the inhabitants. In this dreadful disaster the good pastor was employed in relieving the distressed, in imploring for them the compassion of the conquerors, and in inducing the sufferers at least to make a good use of their afflictions. This invasion of Ireland was begun by private noblemen, whose success gave umbrage to the court, and King Henry II. commanded Strongbow and his associates to return to England: but they declared they only conquered Ireland in his name. Whereupon, he went thither, and, in 1171, received at Dublin the homage of some of the princes and petty kings, and was acknowledged by them lord and sovereign of Ireland. Some time after this, St. Laurence was obliged, for the affairs of his church, to go over to England, in order to make application to King Henry II. who happened then to be at Canterbury. St. Laurence repaired thither, and was received by the monks at Christ Church with the honour due to his sanctity, and desired by them to sing high mass next day. That whole night he spent in prayer before the shrine of St. Thomas, to whose intercession he recommended himself and the business which brought him thither. On the day following, as he was going up to the altar to officiate, a madman who had heard much of his sanctity, out of an extravagant notion of making so holy a man a martyr, and another St. Thomas, gave him so violent a blow on the head with a staff, as knocked him down. All that were present concluded that he was mortally wounded, and expressed their concern by their tears. But the saint, coming to himself again, called for water, which he blessed with the sign of the cross, and then directed the wound to be washed with it. This was no sooner done but the blood was immediately stanched, and the saint said mass. To this miracle, the author of his life, who was then at Canterbury, was an eye-witness, and assures us that the fracture was to be seen in the saint’s skull after his death. The king ordered the franatic assassin to be hanged; but the holy prelate interceded in his favour, and obtained his pardon.

The third general council of Lateran was held at Rome, in 1179, by Pope Alexander III. with three hundred bishops, for the reformation of manners, and the extirpation of heretical errors. St. Laurence went on from England to Rome, and, with the archbishop of Tuam, five other Irish, and four English bishops, assisted at this council. Our saint laid before his holiness the state of the Irish Church, and begged that effectual remedies might be applied to many disorders which reigned in that country, and care taken for preserving the liberties of that national church. The pope was wonderfully pleased with his wise and zealous proposals, and so satisfied of his virtue and prudence, that he readily made the regulations which the saint desired, and appointed him legate of the holy see in the kingdom of Ireland. As soon as the saint was returned home, he began vigorously to execute his legatine power, by reforming the manners of the clergy, and making wholesome regulations. He found the whole country afflicted with a terrible famine which continued to rage for three years. The saint laid himself under an obligation of feeding every day fifty strangers, and three hundred poor persons of his own diocess, besides many others whom he furnished with clothes, victuals, and the other necessaries of life. Several mothers who were reduced so low as not to be able to keep their own children, laid them at the bishop’s door, or in other places where he would see them, and the saint took care of them all: sometimes he provided for three hundred of them together.

Henry II. king of England, was offended at Roderic, the Irish monarch, 7 and our saint undertook another journey into England to negotiate a reconciliation between them. Henry would not hear of a peace, and immediately after the saint’s arrival, set out for Normandy. Laurence retired to the monastery of Abingdon; and, after staying there three weeks, followed him into France. Henry who had always repulsed him, was at length so much moved by his piety, prudence, and charity, that he granted him every thing he asked, and left the whole negotiation to his discretion. It was only to obtain this, that charity had made the saint desire to remain longer upon earth. Having discharged his commission, he was obliged, by a fever which seized him upon the road, to stop his journey. He took up his quarters in the monastery of regular canons at Eu, upon the confines of Normandy, an abbey depending upon that of St. Victor’s in Paris. Going into this house he recited that verse of the psalmist: This is my resting-place for ever: in this place will I dwell, because I have chosen it. He made his confession to the abbot, and received the viaticum and extreme-unction from his hands. To one who put him in mind to make a will, he answered with a smile: “Of what do you speak? I thank God I have not a penny left in the world to dispose of.” Indeed, whatever he possessed always became immediately the treasure of the poor. The saint died happily on the 14th of November in 1180, and was buried in the church of the abbey. Theobald, archbishop of Rouen, and three other commissioners, by order of Pope Honorius III. took juridical informations of several miracles wrought at the tomb, through the intercession of the servant of God, and sent an authentic relation to Rome: and Honorius published the bull of his canonization, in 1226, in which he mentions that seven dead persons had been raised by him to life. This archbishop, in 1227, caused his body to be taken up and enshrined, forty-two years after his death. The abbey of our Lady at Eu still possesses the greater part of his relics, though some churches at Paris and elsewhere have been enriched with certain portions.

The saintly deportment, the zeal, the prayers, and the miracles of St. Laurence were not able to awaken many of those hardened sinners whom he laboured to convert. How few among the Jews, especially among the Pharisees, obeyed the voice of our Redeemer himself! If a pastor’s labours were constantly attended with easy success, he would meet with nothing for the exercise of his patience, by which he is to purchase his own crown, and perfect the sanctification of his soul. No degree of obstinacy, malice, or perverseness, must either disturb or discourage him. The greater the blindness, the more desperate the spiritual wounds of others are, the more tender ought his compassion to be, the greater his patience, and his earnestness in praying and labouring for their recovery and salvation. He is never to despair of any one, so long as the divine mercy still waits for his return. If opportunities of exhorting fail, or if charitable remonstrances only exasperate, so that prudence makes them unseasonable for a time, he ought never to cease earnestly importuning the Father of mercies in their behalf.

Note 1. The name given to the saint in baptism was Lorcan, Latinized Laurentius. [back]

Note 2. His name in the Irish was Muretach O’Tuathail. The saint’s mother was the daughter of O’Brian (now Byrne) a chieftain of an ancient family in Leinster, who continued in power till, through their inflexible adherence to the Catholic religion, and opposition to the puritans in the reign of Charles I. they were stript of power and property under Oliver Cromwell. [back]

Note 3. Not to Dermod O’Malachlin, king of Meath, as some have imagined; for this prince was killed in battle in 1130, when Laurence was scarcely six years old; and it is certain that Dermod had never exercised any authority in the province of Leinster, of which the territory of Hy-Murray (O’Toole’s hereditary district) was a part. Dermod’s government in Heath continued but three years, and he held it upon a very precarious footing, in opposition to a strong faction who adhered to the interest of Murchad, his father, deposed in 1127, and restored to his former authority over Meath, after the death of his son.

  The monarchy of Ireland, which continued near six hundred years under the Hy-Nial race, was dissolved in 1022, on the decease of Malachy II. From that period to the entrance of Henry II. Ireland continued for the greater part of the time in a state of anarchy; some assuming the title of kings of Ireland, but exercising the regal power in the provinces only which acknowledged their authority. On the death of Malachy II. Donchad, the son of Brian Boroihme, took the title of King of Ireland; and some years before his departure for Rome, his son-in-law, Dermod Mac Malnambo, king of Leinster, assumed the same title. Their authority did not extend beyond a moiety of the kingdom. Donchad died in Rome in 1064, and Dermod was killed in the battle of Odba, in 1072, by Concovar O’Malachlin, king of Meath. To these princes succeeded Tordelvach O’Brian, the grandson of Brian Boroihme: his authority was acknowledged in the provinces of Leinster and the two Munsters; he was an excellent prince, and died a great penitent in 1086.

  After an interregnum of eight years, Murertach O’Brian, the son of Tordelvach, took the title of king of Ireland, and at the same time Donal Mac Loghlin, prince of Tyrone, was declared king of Ireland by the northern moiety of the kingdom. During a course of twenty-five years, the nation had been involved in a state of ruinous hostility between those princes. Another interregnum succeeded for fourteen years, at the end of which Tordelvach O’Conor, king of Connaught, assumed the title of king of Ireland. He was supported by powerful factions, and the southern provinces he reduced to his obedience by force of arms. He was reluctantly submitted to, and the more as none of his ancestors reigned over Ireland for 770 years before. He died in 1156, and was interred in Clonmacnois. Tordelvach was succeeded by a very valiant prince, Murertach Mac Loghlin, king of Tyrone, and his title being acknowledged through all the provinces in 1161, he reigned with an authority as extensive as that of any former king of Ireland. Blinded, however, with his power he made a very unjust invasion on the privileges of the people of Ulad, which cost him his life in the battle of Literluin, in 1166.

  Soon after that event a majority of the states had assembled in Dublin to provide a successor. In that convention Roderic, king of Connaught, was elected monarch; and no former king of Ireland was inaugurated with greater solemnity. The reluctant princes were soon brought to recognise his title. But it was a temporary submission to an authority, which, as it was obtained from the power of factious men rather than stated laws, could not be durable. Roderic reigned with splendour during the three first years of his government; till his country was invaded by Henry II. king of England, in October, 1171. The fallacious allegiance of most of his subjects was dissolved; and, through the negotiation of Laurence, archbishop of Dublin, he entered, in the year 1175, into a treaty with Henry, the best that could be obtained, but far from being honourable to himself, or, in its consequences, profitable to the nation. He died in Cong, in 1198, and was buried in his father’s tomb at Clonmacnois.

  Brian, who is said in the Irish peerage to have descended from Heberius, eldest son of Milesius, prince of Spain, was monarch of Ireland in 1014, and fought valiantly against the Danes. Roderic O’Connor, the last Irish monarch of Ireland, was not of the O’Brien family, but chief of the Connaught Hy-Brune race. Some writers have been deceived by a resemblance in the family names of O’Brien and Hy-Brune. From the sixth year of Henry III. the heads of the O’Brien family were usually styled kings of Thomond, or Limerick. The Irish peerage reckons twelve kings of Thomond of that family, after Ireland became subject to England. After the extinction of the title of king, Henry VIII. created the next heir, or supposed heir, of the O’Briens, earl of Thomond, which honour Edward VI. confirmed to his heirs.

  That the old Irish annalists delivered very little better than fables in their accounts, antecedent to Nial Naoigiallach in the fifth century, is out the bare conjecture of Sir James Ware. Tigernach and Cormac, king and archbishop of Munster in the ninth century, could inform him better; even his contemporary, Usher, might have undeceived him. But Ware was far from being a good antiquarian. He affirms, truly indeed, that the elective monarchs of Ireland died mostly by the sword: but this circumstance was owing to a capital defect in the civil constitution, which allowed too little power to the monarch, and too much to his inferior vassals. Some account of the ancient inhabitants and language of this country, is given under St. Palladius, on the 6th of July; St. Alto, the 5th of September, and at note under St. Remigius, the 1st of October. See also O’Connor’s Dissertations, Dublin, 1766; and his Dissert. on the Origin of the Scots, prefixed to Ogygia Vindicated, Dublin.
1775. [back]

Note 4. Glendaloch lies in the territory of Forthuatha, in the county of Wicklow. See an account of it in the Life of St. Coemgen, 3rd of June. [back]

Note 5. The ancient name of this city was Baile-Duibhlinne, Duibhlinne signifying black stream, from the muddy colour of the Liffey in time of flood. It has thence taken the several names of Divelin, Dyfelin, Dublinum, Dublinia, and by Ptolemy (or his interpolators) Eblana, a corruption of Dublina. It was also called Baile-atha-cliath, and is yet so called by the Irish, the words signifying the town of the Ford-hurdles, from the hurdles laid over a wooden bridge which kept the communication open between the provinces of Leinster and Meath. In ancient time the Irish made use of hurdles, with which they covered the beams and joists of wooden bridges, as the best substratum for the layers of earth and gravel, which rendered the passage very commodious. The ancient Irish annals mention several Baile-atha-cliaths distinguished by the adjunction of the territories to which they belonged: as Baile-atha-cliath Medry near Galway, Baile-atha-cliath Coran, near Baillimote in the county of Sligo, &c. From the time of the English settlement, Dublin has been the metropolis of the whole kingdom, the seat of the government and chief course of justice, and the second great city in the British empire.

  The Normans, called Ostmen or Easterlings, took possession of Dublin, A. D. 838, in the fifth year of the reign of Niall Calinne, king of Ireland, three hundred and thirty-four years before the town was given up to Henry II. king of England. No English monarch before him possessed a foot of ground in Ireland; and the prefatory lines to King Edgar’s diploma, in 964, are but the adulatory rant of his chancellor. The fiction is most gross, and (as Usher observes) hath no foundation whatever in the annals of England or Ireland. As Dublin had been thus occupied in the ninth century by heathen barbarians, and the Christians expelled, the succession of bishops was interrupted till the pagans were converted to the Catholic faith. The succession, therefore, until the conversion of the Normans, is not found entire in the Irish annals before Donatus, (Latinized from Dunan,) who was promoted in 1038, in the time of King Sitricus. However, (as Harris remarks,) it is not probable that St. Patrick, who established a church in Dublin, in the fifth century, would leave it without a bishop to preside over it, and thus deviate from his universal practice in other places. Moreover, we have mention made of St. Livinus in 633, who is honoured on the 12th of November; St. Wiro in 650 (or later) honoured the 8th of May; St. Rumold in 775, honoured the 1st of July; and Sedulius, styled abbot of Dublin, who died the 12th of February, 785. That these and other prelates had a fixed see at Dublin before the arrival of the Normans, we have no reason to doubt, nor have we any proof to the contrary.

  Donat was probably the first bishop of this see after the conversion of the infidels: he died in 1074. His successor, Gilla Patrick, was drowned at sea in 1084, and was succeeded by Dongus O’Haingly, who died in 1095 of a pestilence called Teasach. His successor, Samuel O’Haingly, died in 1121; and St. Celsus, bishop of Armagh, was appointed guardian of the spiritualites of the see of Dublin, before the election of Gregory, who died the 8th of October, 1161, and was succeeded by St. Laurence O’Toole. It was in the year 1152, nine years before Gregory’s death, that Cardinal John Paparo, legate of Pope Eugenius III. conferred on this see the archiepiscopal dignity, having brought from Rome four palls for four metropolitans in Ireland, and assigned respective suffragans to each. The four metropolitan sees are, Armagh in the province of Ulster, Dublin in Leinster, Cashel in Munster, and Tuam in Connaught. Between the two first a controversy had continued for a considerable time concerning precedence; but, according to Harris, it was at length finally determined both by papal and legal authority, that the archbishop of Armagh should be entitled Primate of all Ireland, and the archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland; like Canterbury and York in England. 
[back]

Note 6. This church was built for secular canons in the centre of the city by Sitricus, king of the Ostmen in Dublin, and Bishop Donat in 1038. The change made by St. Laurence continued until Henry VIII. in 1541, converted it into a dean and chapter; from which time it hath taken the name of Christ-Church; being before called the church of the Holy Trinity. The principal cathedral of Dublin is dedicated under the invocation of St. Patrick, and was built in the south suburbs of the city, by archbishop Comyn in 1190, on the same spot where an old parochial church had long stood, which was said to have been erected by St. Patrick. [back]

Note 7. This monarch is, by mistake, called Deronogus in Messingham’s Florilegium, p. 386. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume XI: November. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/11/141.html

San Lorenzo O'Toole Arcivescovo di Dublino


Castledermot, Kildare, 1128 - 14 novembre 1180

Nato a Castledermot, contea di Kildare nel 1128, Lorenzo (Lorcan Ua Tuathail) era figlio di Murtagh, capo del clan Murray. Nel 1140 entrò nella scuola monastica di Glendalough, dove fu abate dal 1154 al 1162. Contribuí anche alla fondazione dell'abbazia di Baltinglass per i Cistercensi e di una casa per i Canonici Agostiniani a Ferns. Eletto arcivescovo di Dublino nel 1162, egli mise mano alla riforma di quella Chiesa. Ebbe un ruolo da mediatore con gli invasori normanni che nel 1170 presero la città. Quando Enrico II giunse nell'isola e convocò un sinodo a Cashel, Lorenzo accettò la Bolla papale «Laudabiliter» con cui il papa inglese Adriano II autorizzava Enrico II ad operare in Irlanda. Con l'arcivescovo di Tuam ed i vescovi di Limerick, Kildare, Waterford e Lismore, partecipò al III concilio Lateranense in Roma nel 1173. Nel 1179, Lorenzo tornò in Irlanda e convocò un sinodo a Clonfert per le regioni settentrionali dell'isola. Nel 1180, Lorenzo si recò in Inghilterra per incontrare Enrico II, che però era assai incollerito con il vescovo per i privilegi papali ricevuti e costrinse Lorenzo a vivere in esilio. Tornando dalla Normandia, dove aveva seguito il re, si ammalò e morí il 14 novembre 1180. (Avvenire)

Emblema: Bastone pastorale

Martirologio Romano: A Eu nella Normandia, in Francia, transito di san Lorenzo O’Toole (Lorcan Ua Tuathail), vescovo di Dublino, che, nonostante le difficoltà del suo tempo, promosse strenuamente l’osservanza della disciplina della Chiesa e, impegnato a riportare la concordia tra i príncipi, passò alla gioia della pace eterna mentre si recava da Enrico re d’Inghilterra.

Nato a Castledermot, contea di Kildare nel 1128, Lorenzo (Lorcan Ua Tuathail) era figlio di Murtagh, capo del clan Murray. Nel 1140 entrò nella scuola monastica di Glendalough e nel 1154 fu eletto abate di quel monastero all'età di venticinque o ventisei anni.

Il suo abbaziato (1154-1162) fu notevole per la devozione alla riforma; egli contribuí anche alla fondazione dell'abbazia di Baltinglass per i Cistercensi e di una casa per i Canonici Agostiniani a Ferns.

Eletto arcivescovo di Dublino nel 1162, egli mise mano alla riforma di quella Chiesa imponendo la regola c'i Arrouaise ai canonici della sua cattedrale. La sua santità personale era ravvivata ogni anno da un ritiro di quaranta giorni nella grotta di s. Kevin a Glendalough.

Quando nel 1169 i Normanni invasero l'Irlanda, Lorenzo venne a trovarsi in una posizione difficile; era stato, infatti, suo cognato, Dermot Mac Murrough, re del Leinster, a chiamare i Normanni dall'Inghilterra e sua nipote, Eva, figlia di Dermot, fu data in sposa a Strongbow, capo degli invasori. Durante il secondo assedio di Dublino nel 1170, Lorenzo fu incaricato di negoziare con i Normanni, ma la città fu presa mentre ancora procedevano le trattative. Sembra tuttavia che egli abbia fatto fronte all'occupazione anglo-normanna dell'Irlanda senza eccessivi sforzi.

Quando Enrico II giunse nell'isola e convocò un sinodo a Cashel, Lorenzo accettò la Bolla papale Laudabiliter con cui il papa inglese Adriano II autorizzava Enrico II ad operare in Irlanda.
Quindi agí da intermediario tra Enrico e i vari re irlandesi e negoziò un trattato tra Ruaidhri O'Connor "High-King", ed Enrico.

Con l'arcivescovo di Tuam ed i vescovi di Limerick, Kildare, Waterford e Lismore, partecipò al III concilio Lateranense in Roma nel 1173. Nell'aprile o maggio di quello stesso anno fu nominato da Alessandro III legato papale in Irlanda ed ottenne dallo stesso papa due importantissimi privilegi, uno per Dublino ed uno per Glendalough.
Alla fine del settembre 1179, Lorenzo era di ritorno in Irlanda ed immediatamente convocò un sinodo a Clonfert per le regioni settentrionali dell'isola (arcidiocesi di Tuam e Armagh); scopo particolare del sinodo - durante il quale furono deposti sette vescovi "ereditari" - era quello di arginare oli abusi dei laici nella Chiesa.

Agli inizi del 1180, Lorenzo si recò in Inghilterra per incontrare Enrico II, portando con sé il figlio del re del Connacht come ostaggio per suo padre. Probabilmente a causa dei privilegi papali che egli aveva ottenuto a Roma Lorenzo incontrò ad Oxford o ad Abingdon, nel marzo 1180, un Enrico assai incollerito, il quale, infatti, "costrinse il beato Lorenzo a vivere in esilio". Dopo aver seguito il re fino in Normandia, finalmente ebbe il permesso di tornare in Irlanda. Sulla via del ritorno, tuttavia, si ammalò e morí il 14 novembre 1180 nella casa dei Canonici di S. Vittore ad Eu, in Normandia, dove il suo corpo riposa ancora.

Lorenzo fu canonizzato da papa Onorio III nel 1225 e poco dopo un canonico di Eu ne compilò una Vita, pubblicata da C. Plummer.

In Irlanda la festa di Lorenzo si è sempre celebrata il 14 novembre; ad Eu, invece, vi è anche una festa della traslazione il 10 maggio.

Autore: Leonard Boyle



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