mardi 3 novembre 2015

Saint MALACHIE O'MORE, d'ARMAGH, archevêque et confesseur


Saint Malachie d'Armagh

Archevêque en Irlande ( 1148)

Il est surtout connu en raison des prophéties sur les papes dont il aurait été l'auteur et qui ne sont, en fait, que la fabrication d'un faussaire qui utilisa son patronyme. 

Le véritable Malachie est tout autre. Il est né à Armagh en Irlande vers 1094. Il entra dans la vie monastique et restaura l'abbaye de Bangor que les Vikings avaient détruite. Choisi comme évêque d'Armagh, il eut beaucoup à souffrir des seigneurs qui tentèrent de l'assassiner. Ami de saint Bernard de Clairvaux, il se rendit à Rome en 1139 pour demander au pape de lui ôter sa charge et d'aller vivre à Clairvaux. 



La réponse fut directe : nommé légat pontifical pour l'Irlande, il devenait ainsi chef de l'Eglise de ce pays et c'est là qu'il donna toute sa mesure en en faisant l'un des plus religieux de la chrétienté. 
En 1148, il reprend le chemin de Rome, tombe malade à Clairvaux. Saint Bernard lui-même l'accompagnera jusqu'à son dernier soupir.



Au monastère de Clairvaux en Bourgogne, l’an 1148, la mise au tombeau de saint Malachie, évêque. Depuis l’abbaye de Bangor qu’il restaura, il dirigea le diocèse de Connor, mettant en œuvre le programme de réforme grégorienne. Archevêque d’Armagh, il se heurta aux traditions insulaires et ne put tenir ce siège; il retourna à son diocèse de Connor, qu’il divisa en deux, se réservant le nouveau siège de Down. Alors qu’il se dirigeait vers Rome, il mourut à Clairvaux en présence de saint Bernard.

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/40/Saint-Malachie-d-Armagh.html


Martyrologe romain


Fragment d'os de saint Malachie - église de Ville-sous-la-Ferté près Clairvaux

MALACHIE D’ARMAGH

Archevêque, Saint

† 1148
La décadence des mœurs, et la confusion occasionnée par des guerres continuelles, avaient presque entièrement éteint en Irlande l'esprit de religion et de piété. On y était retombé dans la barbarie et dans les vices grossiers qui ont coutume d'en être la suite. Ce fut alors que Dieu fit naître Malachie, qu'il destinait à rétablir, en quelque sorte, cette église dans son ancienne splendeur. Quelques auteurs irlandais lui donnent le surnom d'O'Morgair. Il eut Armagh pour patrie. Ses parents étaient d'une naissance illustre, et en même temps fort vertueux. Sa mère surtout prit un soin extrême de l'élever dans la crainte du Seigneur. Lorsqu'il fut capable d'instruction, on le mit sous la conduite de maîtres recommandables par leur piété. Il étudia la grammaire à Armagh. Sa mère, qui ne le perdait point de vue, ne cessait de lui inspirer les plus vifs sentiments de religion et ces sentiments se gravèrent dès-lors si profondément dans l'âme du jeune Malachie, qu'ils ne s'effacèrent plus dans la suite. Il était doux, humble, docile, modeste, fidèle à ses devoirs, porté à servir tous ceux avec lesquels il avait à vivre. On admirait sa tempérance, son amour pour la mortification, son éloignement pour tout ce qui faisait l'amusement de l'enfance ; en sorte que, comme il surpassait ses condisciples par ses progrès, il l'emportait en vertu sur ses maîtres mêmes.
Pendant le cours de ses études, il évitait tout ce qui aurait pu se ressentir de l'affectation ; ses pratiques extraordinaires de pénitence n'étaient connues que de Dieu ; par là il évitait encore le danger de la vaine gloire. Il ne restait point à l'église aussi longtemps qu'il l'aurait désiré ; il se retirait dans des lieux écartés pour prier ; et s'il lui arrivait de se livrer en priant à l'impétuosité de son zèle, il prenait garde qu'on ne l'aperçût. Dans les promenades qu'il faisait avec les jeunes gens de son âge, il se laissait un peu devancer par eux, afin d'avoir la liberté de s'unir à Dieu par des aspirations vives et enflammées.
Mais résolu d'apprendre le grand art de mourir à lui-même, et de se consacrer entièrement au service de Dieu, il se mit sous la conduite d'Imar, ou Imarius, qui menait la vie d'un reclus dans une cellule voisine de l'église d'Armagh, et qui avait une grande réputation de sainteté. Cette démarche de la part d'un jeune homme de qualité, étonna toute la ville ; plusieurs en firent le sujet de leurs railleries ; d'autres l'attribuèrent à la mélancolie, ou du moins à la légèreté. Les amis du Saint en ressentirent une vive douleur, et lui en firent des reproches amers. Ils ne pouvaient s'imaginer qu'avec une constitution si délicate, et des espérances si bien fondées de réussir dans le monde, il prit le parti d'embrasser un genre de vie, dont la pensée seule les effrayait, et qui d'ailleurs leur paraissait vil et méprisable. Malachie ne fut point ému de tout ce que dirent les censeurs de sa conduite. Il dut à sa douceur et à son humilité la victoire qu'il remporta sur le monde et sur lui-même. Pour se rendre digne d'aimer Dieu parfaitement, il se condamna, selon la remarque de saint Bernard, à vivre, pour ainsi dire, dans un tombeau ; il se soumit à la règle d'un homme, bien différent de ceux qui veulent enseigner ce qu'ils n'ont jamais appris, et qui cherchent à se faire des disciples avant d'avoir eu des maîtres.
La docilité de Malachie, son amour pour le silence, sa ferveur dans la prière, son zèle pour les pratiques de la mortification, annoncèrent ses progrès dans la perfection. Il devint infiniment cher à son maître, et il édifia tous ceux qui avaient d'abord condamné sa conduite ; les railleries se changèrent bientôt en admiration. Plusieurs même, touchés de ses exemples, embrassèrent le genre de vie qu'il avait choisi. Imar consentit à recevoir les plus fervents d'entre eux, et peu à peu il se forma une communauté. Malachie était le modèle de tous, quoiqu'il s'en regardât comme le dernier, et qu'il se jugeât indigne d'habiter parmi ces serviteurs de Dieu. Avec de pareilles dispositions, il ne pouvait manquer de parvenir à un degré sublime de perfection.
Imar, son supérieur, et Celse ou Ceillach, archevêque d'Armagh, crurent que la gloire de Dieu exigeait qu'il reçût les saints ordres. Ainsi, sans avoir égard à sa résistance, Celse l'ordonna diacre, et prêtre peu de temps après. Il n'avait que vingt-cinq ans, lorsqu'on lui conféra la prêtrise, quoiqu'il fallût alors en avoir trente, suivant les canons : mais on trouva dans son mérite extraordinaire une juste cause de le dispenser de la règle générale. L'archevêque l'établit en même temps son vicaire pour prêcher la parole de Dieu au peuple, et il le chargea de travailler à déraciner les abus invétérés qui avaient horriblement défiguré la face de l'église d'Irlande. Malachie remplit la commission dont il était chargé, avec autant de zèle que de succès; les vices furent corrigés, les coutumes barbares détruites, les superstitions bannies, et l'on vit revivre partout la_ pratique des vraies maximes de l'Evangile. C'était comme une flamme au milieu des forêts, qui cause un incendie auquel rien ne résiste. Il fit plusieurs règlements pour l'observation de la discipline ecclésiastique ; il rétablit dans toutes les églises du diocèse l'office canonial, qui avait été interrompu, même dans les villes, depuis les invasions des Danois ; et il y réussit d'autant plus facilement, qu'il avait bien appris dès sa jeunesse le chant ecclésiastique. Mais ce qui était encore d'une plus grande importance, il rétablit l'usage des sacrements, et surtout celui de la pénitence et de la confirmation, qui depuis longtemps étaient fort négligés. Il prit aussi des mesures pour qu'à l'avenir les mariages fussent célébrés selon les règles de l'Eglise.
Le serviteur de Dieu craignit cependant de n'être point assez versé dans la connaissance des saints canons, pour exécuter le projet de réforme qu'il avait formé relativement à la discipline ; et cette crainte lui donnait souvent des inquiétudes. Il obtint donc de son évêque la permission d'aller passer quelque temps auprès de Malachie, évêque de Lismore. Ce prélat, Anglais de naissance, avait été moine de Winchester ; il était également renommé pour son savoir et sa sainteté, et on le regardait comme l'oracle de toute l'Irlande. Il reçut Malachie avec bonté, et l'instruisit de tout ce qui concernait le service divin et la conduite des âmes. Il le pria en même temps de ne pas priver l'église de Lismore des avantages qu'elle recevait de son ministère.
L'Irlande était alors divisée en plusieurs petits royaumes. Cormac, Roi de Munster, fut détrôné par son frère pendant le séjour de notre Saint à Lismore. Dans son malheur, il eut recours à Malachie, non dans l'intention de recouvrer la couronne, mais pour apprendre de lui les moyens de sauver son âme. La nouvelle de son arrivée à Lismore s'étant répandue, l'évêque se prépara à le recevoir avec les honneurs dus à la Majesté royale ; mais le prince ne voulut point y consentir il déclara qu'il renonçait pour toujours aux pompes mondaines ; qu'il demandait à vivre parmi les chanoines, et à s'assurer par la pénitence, la possession d'un royaume éternel. Malachie, après l'avoir instruit des conditions qu'exigeait le sacrifice qu'il avait projeté, lui assigna une demeure, et lui donna Malachie pour maître ; du pain et de l'eau devaient faire sa nourriture. Cormac, animé par les exhortations de notre "Saint, goûta les douceurs qu'on trouve dans le service de Dieu ; la corn ponction dont son cœur était brisé, lui fournissait une source de larmes par lesquelles il purifiait continuellement son âme ; il répétait sans cesse comme David, et avec de vifs sentiments de douleur et de confiance : Voyez, Seigneur, ma bassesse et ma misère, et pardonnez-moi toutes mes offenses. Ses prières furent exaucées au-delà de ce qu'il demandait. Il reçut les avantages temporels avec les dons de la grâce. En effet, un Roi voisin, indigné qu'on eût outragé dans sa personne la Majesté royale, entreprit de le remettre sur le trône. Il vint le chercher dans sa cellule; mais il ne put l'engager à entrer dans ses vues. Voyant qu'il ne pouvait le toucher par son propre intérêt, il fit valoir les motifs tirés de la religion et de la justice qu'un Roi doit à ses sujets. Ses efforts furent encore inutiles. Malchi et Malachie se joignirent à lui, et représentèrent fortement à Cormac, que la volonté de Dieu était qu'il ne résistât pas plus longtemps. Il se rendit donc, et remonta sur le trône dont il avait été dépouillé. Il conserva pour Malachie une affection qui ne se démentit jamais, et il l'honora toujours comme son père.
Peu de temps après, Celse et Imar rappelèrent Malachie à Armagh. L'abbaye de Bangor[1], située dans le comté de Down, était alors dans un état déplorable ; les revenus en étaient possédés par un oncle du Saint, jusqu'à ce qu'il fût possible de la rétablir. L’oncle, après l'avoir résignée à son neveu, afin qu'il pût y faire revivre l'observation de la règle, s'y retira lui-même, et voulut se mettre sous la conduite de Malachie. Bangor prit bientôt une nouvelle forme. Cette maison, quoique moins nombreuse qu'elle ne l'avait été autrefois, devint une école célèbre de savoir et de piété. Le serviteur de Dieu la gouverna quelque temps, et pour nous servir des termes de saint Bernard, il y fut, par sa conduite, une règle vivante, un miroir qui réfléchissait toutes les vertus, un livre ouvert où tous pouvaient apprendre les vraies maximes de la perfection monastique. Les austérités de la communauté ne suffisaient point à sa ferveur; il en pratiquait de particulières, dont il dérobait la connaissance, autant qu'il lui était possible. Plusieurs guérisons miraculeuses ajoutèrent un nouvel éclat à la réputation de sainteté dont il jouissait. Mais sa vie, dit saint Bernard, fut le plus grand de ses miracles. Nous rapporterons le fait suivant, d'après le même Père.
Malachie avait une sœur qui mourut après avoir mené une vie mondaine. Pendant longtemps il recommanda son âme à Dieu dans la célébration du saint Sacrifice. Ayant cessé de le faire l'espace de trente jours, il fut averti en songe que sa sœur attendait dans le cimetière avec douleur, et qu'elle avait été trente jours sans nourriture spirituelle. Il reprit l'usage de prier pour sa sœur, et dit, ou fit dire tous les jours la messe à son intention. Quelque temps après, il lui sembla la voir à la porte de l'église, puis dans l'église même. Enfin, au bout de quelques jours, lorsqu'il était à l'autel, elle lui apparut dans la joie, au milieu d'une troupe d'esprits bienheureux; ce qui lui donna une grande consolation.
A peine eut-il atteint sa trentième année, qu'on l'élut évêque de Connor, aujourd'hui dans le comté d'Antrim. Il refusa d'acquiescer à son élection ; mais Celse et Imar lui ordonnèrent de ne point écouter ses répugnances, et de se soumettre; ce qu'il fit par obéissance. Les peuples confiés à son zèle étaient de vrais barbares, souillés de vices grossiers, et qui n'étaient chrétiens que de nom. Il les instruisit, et leur parla avec une douceur mêlée de sévérité. Quand ils ne venaient point à l'église, il allait les chercher, et les exhortait avec une bonté paternelle, et souvent avec larmes, à rentrer en eux-mêmes. Il offrait à Dieu pour eux le sacrifice d'un cœur contrit et humilié; quelquefois il passait les nuits en prières pour obtenir leur conversion. Il visitait les lieux les plus écartés de son diocèse, voyageant toujours à pied, et il supportait avec une patience admirable les affronts et les maux qu'il avait à endurer. Insensiblement les cœurs les plus endurcis se laissèrent toucher. Le saint et le fréquent usage des sacrements fut rétabli ; des pasteurs zélés que le Saint s'associa, bannirent l'ignorance et la superstition. On vit refleurir la piété de toute part. On regarda comme miraculeuse la conversion d'une femme tellement sujette à la colère, qu'elle était insupportable à tous ceux qui l'approchaient. Malachie, au rapport de saint Bernard, en fit la plus douce et la plus patiente de toutes les personnes de son sexe, en lui ordonnant, au nom de Jésus-Christ, de ne plus s'abandonner au même vice, et en lui imposant une pénitence proportionnée aux fautes qu'elle lui avait déclarées en confession. Depuis ce temps-là, rien ne fut capable de troubler la tranquillité de son âme.
Quelques années après, la ville de Connor fut prise et saccagée par le Roi d'Ulster. Malachie, accompagné de cent vingt de ses disciples, se retira dans celle de Munster. Il y bâtit le monastère d’Ibrac, que les uns mettent auprès de Corck, et les autres dans l'île de Begerin, où Imar fit d'abord sa résidence. Tandis qu'il gouvernait sa communauté en paix, et qu'il en était l'édification par sa ferveur et son humilité, Celse, archevêque d’Armagh, fut attaqué de la maladie dont il mourut. Il désigna Malachie pour son successeur, et conjura tous ceux qui étaient auprès de lui, au nom de saint Patrice, fondateur du siège d’Armagh, de concourir efficacement à cette promotion, et d'écarter tout intrus. Il ne se contenta point d'une simple déclaration verbale, il écrivit encore à ce sujet aux personnes les plus puissantes du pays, notamment aux Rois du haut et du bas Munster. Par-là il voulait abolir un abus scandaleux qui avait été une source de désordres dans les églises d'Irlande. Eu effet, la famille de Ceise, une des plus distinguées du diocèse, était en possession, depuis deux cents ans, de s'emparer de l'archevêché d'Armagh, qu'elle regardait comme son héritage. Cet abus était allé si loin, qu'au défaut d’ecclésiastiques, on en confiait l'administration à des laïques, quelquefois à des personnes mariées de la même famille. Ces intrus jouissaient des revenus du siège, et traitaient en vrais tyrans les autres évêques de l'île.
Après la mort de Celse, on suivit ses intentions, qu'il avait si visiblement manifestées ; Malachie fut élu canoniquement pour lui succéder. Maurice, qui était de la famille de Celse, n'eut aucun égard à cette élection, et prit possession de l'archevêché. Notre Saint ne voulut point faire valoir la légitimité de son droit, alléguant pour raison qu'il craignait les suites d'une démarche qui ne manquerait pas d'exciter des troubles , et de faire peut-être répandre du sang. Trois ans se passèrent de la sorte. Enfin Malachie, évêque de Lismore, et Gilbert, évêque de Limerick, lequel était légat du Pape en Irlande, assemblèrent les prélats et les grands de l’île, pour remédier au scandale. On pressa Malachie de venir au secours du siège dont le gouvernement lui avait été confié, et on le menaça de l'excommunier s'il refusait plus longtemps de se rendre. Il se soumit donc, en disant toutefois à ceux qui composaient l'assemblée : « Vous voulez ma mort, j'obéis dans l'espérance du martyre ; mais c'est à condition que si les choses tournent comme vous le désirez, j'aurai la permission, lorsque l'ordre sera rétabli, de retourner à ma première épouse, et à ma pauvreté bien-aimée. » La condition ayant été acceptée, il commença d'exercer les fonctions d'archevêque dans toute la province. Il ne les exerça cependant pas dans la ville d’Armagh, où il ne voulut point entrer tant que vécut Maurice, de peur d'exciter une sédition. Celui-ci mourut deux ans après, sans se reconnaître, puis qu'il nomma Nigel son parent pour lui succéder. Mais le Roi Cormac et les évêques de la province installèrent Malachie, qui fut reconnu pour le seul métropolitain légitime d’Irlande, en 1133, à la trente-huitième année de son âge. Nigel fut obligé de sortir d'Armagh. Sa fuite cependant ne rétablit pas la paix ; il emporta deux reliques pour lesquelles les Irlandais avaient une grande vénération, et le petit peuple s'imaginait que celui qui les avait en possession était le véritable archevêque. Ces reliques étaient un livre des évangiles qui avait appartenu à saint Patrice, et une crosse appelée le bâton de Jésus, qui était couverte d'or et ornée de pierreries. Nigel eut encore par ce moyen plusieurs partisans, et sa famille suscita diverses persécutions à Malachie. Un de ses principaux pareils invita le Saint è venir dans sa maison, sous prétexte d'avoir une conférence avec lui; mais son dessein était de lui «Mer la vie. L'archevêque, malgré tout ce que ses amis purent lui dire, se trouva au rendez-vous, dans la résolution d'affronter la mort pour le bien de la paix. Il n'avait avec lui que trois de ses disciples, qui étaient dans les mêmes dispositions. Mais il ne fut pas plus tôt au milieu de ses ennemis, qu'ils se sentirent désarmés par son courage et sa douceur toute céleste. Celui qui avait résolu de le massacrer lui rendit l'honneur qui lui était dû, et la paix fut conclue de part et d'autre. Quelque temps après, Nigel remit à Malachie le livre des évangiles et la crosse qu'il avait enlevés. Quant aux différents ennemis du Saint, plusieurs périrent misérablement par un juste jugement de Dieu.
La peste ravageant le diocèse d’Armagh, Malachie arrêta ce fléau par ses prières. Lorsqu'il eut retiré son église de l'oppression, il y rétablit le bon ordre et la discipline. Il ne pensa plus alors qu'à se démettre, comme on en était convenu ; et il sacra pour le remplacer un vertueux ecclésiastique, nommé Gélase. Il retourna ensuite à son premier siège, qui était uni depuis longtemps à celui de Down. Il crut qu'il était de la gloire de Dieu de les diviser. 11 sacra un évêque pour gouverner l'église de Connor, et réserva pour lui le diocèse de Down, qui était le plus petit et le plus pauvre. Il établit une communauté de chanoines réguliers, auxquels il se réunissait pour vaquer à la prière et à la méditation, autant que ses autres devoirs pouvaient le lui permettre. Il fit encore d'autres règlements très-utiles.
Le désir de les faire confirmer par le Souverain-Pontife, l'engagea à entreprendre le voyage de Rome. Il se proposait encore d'obtenir le pallium pour le siège d’Armagh, et pour un autre siège métropolitain dont Celse avait formé le projet, mais dont l'exécution n'avait point eu l'approbation du Pape. Le premier était depuis longtemps privé de cet honneur, par la négligence et les abus qu'y avaient introduits ceux qui s'en étaient emparés contre les règles. Ce fut en 1139 que Malachie quitta l'Irlande. Il passa quelque temps à York, avec un saint prêtre nommé Sycar. Etant en France, il visita l'abbaye de Clairvaux, où il fit connaissance avec saint Bernard, qui conçut pour lui autant de respect que d'affection. Il fut si édifié des grands exemples de vertu qu'il y vit, que s'il en avait eu la liberté, il y aurait passé le reste de ses jours. Il continua malgré lui sa route pour aller en Italie. Lorsqu'il fut à Yvrée, en Piémont, il rendit la santé à un enfant qui était près de mourir. Arrivé à Rome, il se présenta au Pape Innocent II, qui le reçut d'une manière honorable, mais qui lui refusa constamment la permission qu'il demandait de se consacrer aux exercices de la pénitence dans l'abbaye de Clairvaux. Le Souverain - Pontife confirma tout ce qu'il avait fait en Irlande, le fit son légat dans cette île, et lui promit le pallium. En revenant d’Italie, le Saint passa par Clairvaux, et donna, dit saint Bernard, une seconde fois sa 'bénédiction aux religieux de cette abbaye. El comme il ne pouvait rester avec eux, il leur laissa son cœur, et quatre de ses compagnons, qui, après avoir fait profession, retournèrent en Irlande, et fondèrent le monastère de Mellifont, qui donna depuis naissance à plusieurs autres du même ordre. Il se rendit à la prière que lui faisait le Roi David, de prendre sa route par l’Ecosse, afin de rendre la santé à son fils Henri, qui était dangereusement malade. Il dit au jeune prince d'avoir bon courage, et l'assura qu'il ne mourrait point cette fois ; il jeta ensuite sur lui de l'eau bénite, et le lendemain Henri se trouva parfaitement guéri.
Malachie, en arrivant en Irlande, y fut reçu avec de grandes démonstrations de joie. Il s'acquitta avec autant de zèle que de fruit, de la commission dont le Pape l'avait chargé. Il tint divers synodes, et fit d'excellents règlements pour corriger les abus. Dieu continua de le favoriser du don des miracles. Saint Charles Borromée avait coutume d'en rappeler un à ses prêtres, lorsqu'il les exhortait à veiller pour que le sacrement de l'Extrême-onction fût administré à temps aux malades. Voici de quelle manière saint Bernard le raconte. Une femme, qui demeurait auprès de Bangor, étant à l'article de la mort, on envoya chercher Malachie. II vint, fit les exhortations convenables en pareil cas, et se mit en devoir de donner l'Extrême-onction à la malade. Mais ses amis représentèrent qu'il valait mieux lui différer l'administration de ce sacrement jusqu'au lendemain matin, et qu'elle serait plus en état de le recevoir avec fruit. Le saint évêque se rendit à leurs représentations, quoique avec beaucoup de répugnance. Il fil le signe de la croix sur la malade, et se retira dans sa chambre. Mais au commencement de la nuit toute la maison est dans le trouble, ce ne sont que pleurs et gémissements. Les domestiques annoncent par leurs cris qu'ils ont perdu leur maîtresse. L'évêque court à la chambre de la malade, qu'il trouve morte effectivement. Il lève les mains au ciel, en disant avec douleur que lui seul est coupable d'un délai si funeste. Il se met en prières, et exhorte les assistants à se joindre à lui. Toute la nuit se passade la sorte. Enfin, au point du jour, la malade donne des signes de vie, ouvre les yeux et reconnaît Malachie. Ceux qui étaient présents furent saisis d'étonnement, et leur douleur se changea en joie. Le Saint lui administra l'Extrême-onction sans délai, croyant avec l’Eglise, que ce sacrement avait été institué pour la rémission des péchés, et même pour le soulagement du corps du malade, selon qu'il lui est plus avantageux pour le salut. Cette femme recouvra la santé, passa le reste de ses jours dans la pénitence, et mourut depuis de la mort des justes.
Le saint évêque, pour exciter la piété, donna ses soins à augmenter la magnificence du culte extérieur. Il fit bâtir à Bangor une église de pierre, semblable ù. celles qu'il avait vues dans ses différents voyages. Il répara aussi la cathédrale de Down, célèbre par le tombeau de S. Patrice, et dans laquelle on transporta depuis les corps de S. Colomb et de sainte Brigitte.
Toujours animé du désir de rétablir l'Eglise d'Irlande dans sa première splendeur, il résolut de repasser en France, pour voir le Pape Eugène III, qui était venu dans ce royaume. Innocent II était mort sans avoir envoyé les deux pallium qu'il avait promis. Célestin II et Luce II étaient morts aussi en moins de dix-huit mois. Malachie, qui voulait terminer une affaire différée depuis sj longtemps, assembla les évêques d'Irlande pour conférer avec eux. Ils le choisirent pour leur député auprès du Saint-Siège. Malachie prit sa route par l'Angleterre. Etant chez les chanoines de Gisburn, il guérit avec de l'eau bénite une femme affligée d'un horrible cancer. Avant son arrivée en France, le Pape retourna à Rome : Malachie ne voulut point partir pour l’Italie, sans avoir visité l'abbaye de Clairvaux. Ce fut au mois d'Octobre 1148 qu'il y arriva. Saint Bernard et ses religieux le revirent avec la plus grande joie ; mais cette joie ne fut pas de longue durée.
Malachie ayant célébré la messe le jour de saint Luc, fut saisi d'une fièvre violente qui l'obligea de se mettre au lit. Les religieux s'empressèrent de lui procurer tous les secours dont il avait besoin : mais il les assura, en les remerciant de leur charité, que leurs soins n'auraient pas l'effet qu'ils en espéraient, et qu'il ne guérirait point. Il connaissait, selon saint Bernard, le jour où Dieu devait l'appeler à lui. Malgré son extrême faiblesse, il voulut aller à l’église, où il reçut les derniers sacrements, couché sur la cendre. Il conjura les assistants de lui continuer le secours de leurs prières après sa mort, leur promettant à son tour de se souvenir d'eux quand il serait avec le Seigneur. Il leur recommanda aussi toutes les âmes qui avaient été confiées à ses soins. Il expira tranquillement le 2 de Novembre 1148, à la cinquante-quatrième année de son âge. On l'enterra dans la chapelle de la Vierge, et ce furent des abbés qui le portèrent au tombeau. Parmi ceux qui assistèrent à ses funérailles, était un jeune homme qui avait un bras paralysé, en sorte qu'il n'en pouvait faire aucun usage. Saint Bernard le fit approcher, et appliqua son bras malade sur la main du saint évêque. Le jeune homme fut guéri sur-le-champ. Le même saint docteur, dans son discours sur saint Malachie, dit à ses moines. « Prions-le de nous protéger par ses mérites, lui qui nous » a instruits par ses exemples et confirmés par ses miracles. » Ayant chanté à ses funérailles une messe de Requiem pour le repos de son âme, saint Bernard ajouta une collecte pour implorer le Seigneur par son intercession ; il avait appris par révélation, à l'autel, qu'il était dans la gloire, comme Geoffroi son disciple le rapporte dans le quatrième livre de la vie qu'il a donnée de son bienheureux maître. Saint Malachie fut canonisé par une bulle de Clément III ou Clément IV, la troisième année de son pontificat. Cette bulle est adressée au chapitre général des Cisterciens.
Deux choses, dit saint Bernard, firent un saint de Malachie : une douceur parfaite, et une foi vive. Par la première de ces vertus, il était mort à lui-même ; par la seconde, son âme était intimement unie à Dieu. Il est donc vrai de dire qu'il se sanctifia par la foi et par la douceur, Nous ne pouvons nous sanctifier nous-mêmes, qu'en faisant usage des mêmes moyens. Que saint Malachie fût parfaitement mort à lui-même, c'est ce que prouve la conduite qu'il tint par rapport au siège métropolitain d'Armagh : il ne le garda qu'autant qu'il y eut des dangers et des contradictions à essuyer ; et il n'y eut pas plus tôt rétabli la paix qu'il le quitta. Il était également mort au monde. N'en avons-nous pas la preuve dans son amour pour les souffrances et la pauvreté, dans ce dévouement volontaire où il vivait au milieu de la prospérité : toujours pauvre pour lui-même, il n'était riche que pour les pauvres, dit saint Bernard. Ce père trace en lui le caractère d'un véritable pasteur, en nous apprenant que l'amour — propre et le monde étaient crucifiés dans son cœur, et qu'il savait allier la solitude intérieure avec l'application aux fonctions du ministère. « Il paraissait vivre uniquement pour lui» même, et il était si dévoué au service du prochain, qu'on eût dit qu'il ne vivait que pour les autres. » L'accomplissement des différents devoirs était en lui si admirable, que la charité ne prenait rien sur ce qu'il devait au salut de sa propre âme, et que le soin de sa propre sanctification ne l'empêchait point de se livrer au service de ses frères. En le voyant occupé des fonctions pastorales, vous auriez cru qu'il était né pour les autres, et non pour lui-même. D'un autre côté, en considérant son amour pour la retraite et la continuité de son recueillement, vous l'eussiez pris pour un homme qui ne vivait que pour Dieu et pour lui-même. »
SOURCE : Alban Butler : Vie des Pères, Martyrs et autres principaux Saints… – Traduction : Jean-François Godescard.
[1] L'abbaye de Banchor, appelée depuis Bangor, fut fondée par saint Comgall, vers l'an 555. Ou dit qu'il s'y trouva jusqu'à trois milles moines à la fois. Il eu sortit au moins de nombreuses colonies qui fondèrent plusieurs monastères en Ecosse et en Irlande. Saint Colomban, religieux de cette maison, en porta la règle en France et en Italie. Les pirates danois en détruisirent les bâtiments, et massacrèrent 900 moines en un jour. Depuis ce temps-là, elle fut ruinée jusqu'au rétablissement qu'en fit saint Malachie. On voit encore une petite partie des bâtiments construits par ce Saint, et les traces des anciennes fondations prouvent qu'ils avaient beaucoup d'étendue.



Malachy O'More B (RM)

(also known as Maolmhaodhog ua Morgair)

Born in Armagh, County, Down, Ireland, in 1094; died Clairvaux in 1148; canonized in 1190 by Pope Clement IV--the first papal canonization of an Irish saint; feast day in Ireland is November 4.


God, in His great goodness and mercy, has given us the Sacraments to strengthen us all our days--from our birth and rebirth in Baptism, to restoration in Reconciliation, to sustenance in the Eucharist, and ultimately fortification for the final journey through the Anointing of the Sick.

Our dear Lord has cared for us more tenderly than an earthly mother does her child--for His love is constant. But God uses the instruments of His holy priests to bring His Presence into the world in these life-giving Sacraments. Saint Malachy was known for his devotion to the Sacraments.

Saint Bernard honored Malachy and regarded him as a special friend. Saint Charles held him up before the eyes of his priests as a model in administering the Sacraments to the dying, for like that zealous pastor of souls, he sought out the needy in the remotest villages and cottages of his diocese, giving the holy sacraments to all alike and renewing the fervor of the people in receiving them.

Malachy was born Mael Maedoc Ua Morgair. His father's name was O'Morgair (Irish: Maol-Maodhog). He was a teacher in the schools of his native city. His father died in Limerick in 1102, when Malachy was seven. His mother, who brought up her son in the love and fear of God, was a most pious woman. Saint Bernard tells us:

"His parents, however, were great both by descent and in power, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth (2 Samuel 7:9). Moreover, his mother, more noble in mind than in blood, took pains at the very beginning of his way to show her child the ways of life: esteeming this knowledge of more value to him than the empty knowledge of the learning of this world. For both, however, he had aptitude in proportion to his age."

He first studied at the schools where his father had taught, making great progress in virtue and learning. After the death of his parents, wishing more perfectly to learn the art of dying to himself and living wholly for God, he put himself under the discipline of Eimar (Imar O'Hagan), a holy recluse in a cell near the cathedral.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux says of him: "He submitted himself to the rule of man, condemning himself while alive to the grave, that he might attain the true love of God. Not being like those who undertake to teach others what they have never learned themselves, seeking to gather and multiply scholars, without ever having been at school, becoming blind guides of the blind. His obedience as a disciple, his love of silence, his fervor in mortification and prayer, were the means and marks of his spiritual progress."
When he had learned himself, he persuaded his master to accept others to the same discipline, so that a large community grew up around the church at Armagh. The archbishop, Ceolloch, judged him worthy to receive Holy Orders and ordained him a priest at age 25, though the canonical age at that time was 30.

Before fulfilling his preaching mission, he was instructed by the 74-year-old Saint Malchus, the bishop of Waterford and Lismore. Malachy acted as a minister in his church at the same time.

Malachy's sister had become wayward after the death of their mother and he had sworn never to visit her while she lived in sin. At this time she died and, according to Saint Bernard, Malachy began seeing her spirit. He offered up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on hearing of her death. Some thirty days after having ceased to offer up the Mass for her:

"He heard in a dream by night the voice of one saying to him that his sister was standing outside in the courtyard, having tasted nothing for forty days. On awakening he soon realized the kind of food for want of which she was pining away."

So, his prayers and Masses for her soul continued. Soon he saw her at the threshold of the church; but clad in black. Later on he saw her clad in grey; within the church, but not allowed to the altar. At last she was seen a third time, with the throng of the white- robed and in apparel that shone (McNabb).

Ireland had been converted from paganism to Christianity in the 5th century. In the three succeeding centuries the land became the principal seat of learning in the whole of Europe. The great change was brought about during the period when the Roman Empire was breaking up, when invasions of pagan nations seized upon the greater part of Europe.

Ireland was remote and guarded by the seas: she was the only country not overrun. For at least 300 years students flocked from the continent to seek instruction in the science of the saints, as well as in secular learning, so that she became known as the "Island of Saints and Scholars." In the 9th century, however, the country was also invaded in turn by the Danes, who burned and sacked the monasteries doing irreparable damage.

The Normans followed these hordes of barbarians, ravaging on their way the maritime districts of England and Scotland. Nothing seemed to escape their depredations. The monks were put to the sword, the churches demolished, the precious libraries committed to the flames.

The result of this long oppression showed itself in later years by a great relaxation of piety and morals. Ignorance and vice succeeded the Christian virtues and knowledge. At the beginning of the 11th century the country had in some places, especially in the north and east, sunk back to its former paganism and ignorance, through the accumulation of so many evils.

The same thing happened in other parts of Europe, where the relics of paganism lingered, in remote places, even into modern times. The great abbey of Bangor, County Down, founded by Saint Comgall in 550, lay in a desolate condition. In the days of its glory as many as 3,000 monks were assembled at its schools. It was there that Saint Columban had studied; from there many others like him had gone forth to France and Italy, to set up religious houses and propagate the faith.

The archbishop appointed Malachy his vicar, sending him to preach the word of God to the people, to overcome superstition, to correct the many abuses that had grown up over the years. Like a flame amid the forest, he swept forward to burn out once more the noxious weeds, to plant in their place the belief and practice of the faith. He made regulations in ecclesiastical discipline and restored the recitation of the canonical hours, which had been omitted since the Danish invasions.

More than all else, he gave back the Sacraments to the common people, sending good priests among them to instruct the ignorant. He visited Lismore, where the bishop had a great reputation for sanctity and learning. Having learned all he needed and completed his plans, he returned to Armagh in 1123.

His uncle, a lay-abbot of the Abbey of Bangor, County Down, resigned the abbey to Malachy in the hopes that he might return it to regular observance. Malachy, however, in a spirit of humility that cause great objection, turned its lands and most of its revenues over to someone else.

With ten members of Eimar's community of hermits, he rebuilt the house and ruled it for a year, during which time miracles were attributed to him. At Bangor he established a seminary for priests, though the abbey never regained its former size or importance.

In all the monastic observances he was very zealous and a model to his priests. Soon after this great work, at age 30, Malachy was chosen to be bishop of the diocese of Down and Connor (Antrim). Malachy set about to lead the see's nominal Christians to a genuine devotion, searching them out on foot in their homes and fields to bring them to church.

He was now able to fill the diocese with well-instructed priests, who revived the fervor of the people; in fact, he renewed all things in Christ. In all his actions he breathed a spirit of patience and meekness; both priests and people followed his lead as with Saint Charles in later centuries.

When the Church was gaining ground again, establishing once more her rightful position, the secular princes made trouble in Ulster. The city of Connor was sacked; Malachy was obliged to flee with his community of monks first to Lismore and then to the Iveragh in Kerry. They made a settlement in the vicinity of Cork, which explains how Malachy came to be venerated there, too.

On April 1, 1129, Saint Ceolloch, age 50, died at Ardpatrick, Limerick. In a vision Saint Malachy saw a woman of great stature and reverend mien, who on being asked, said she was the Bride of Ceolloch. Then she gave to Malachy a bishop's staff and disappeared. A few days later Saint Malachy received from the dying Ceolloch a letter naming him archbishop of Armagh and sending him the bishop's staff, which Saint Malachy recognized as the staff given to him in the vision.

As in England then the secular arm had great power, often forcing unworthy men into positions of the Church to hold the revenues, causing many evils, more especially the neglect of the common people. Ceolloch's see had become hereditary over the years, and he wished to break that tradition by leaving it to Malachy. Saint Ceolloch's relatives, however, installed his cousin Murtagh. Malachy refused to make efforts to occupy the see.

Still delaying after three years, declining the promotion because he feared further bloodshed on the part of Ceolloch's kin, Malachy was threatened with excommunication if he refused the appointment. The Papal Legate Gillebert (Gilbert), who was also bishop of Limerick, and Malebus (Saint Malchus), bishop of Lismore, assembled a synod.

When told he must obey, Malachy submitted saying, "You drag me to death. I obey in the hopes of martyrdom, but on this condition: that if the business succeeds and God frees His heritage from those who are destroying it--all being then completed, and the Church at peace, I may be allowed to go back to my former bride and friend, poverty, and to put another in my place!"

In this way Malachy declared that he would stay only long enough to restore order, and he refused to enter the city or the cathedral, ruling from outside, because he did not wish to incite trouble by his presence. This condition was agree to and Malachy set north again for Ulster.

In 1134, Murtagh died, naming a layman Nigellus (Niall), Ceolloch's brother, as successor. The secular authorities refused to recognize the authority of the new archbishop. Both sides were supported by troops, and armed conflict broke out between the followers of the two, but Malachy finally obtained possession of his cathedral.

To give weight to his own authority Nigellus seized two precious relics from the cathedral, the Crozier of Saint Patrick, called the "staff of Jesus," made of gold studded with precious stones, and the Book of the Gospels, which had been handed down from the time of Ireland's patron saint. These men persecuted Saint Malachy, putting obstacles in his way at every turn.

Twelve of Nigellus's supporters were killed by lightning when they tried to surprise their adversaries during a thunderstorm. Two years after Malachy returned to Armagh his opponents invited him to a conference, and though the saint was warned of their evil designs, he went with a few companions to meet his rivals.

His mildness and courage disarmed his enemies; they who intended to threaten now rose up to do him honor. Peace was concluded between them; Nigellus was deposed, the relics restored, and the saint took possession of the see and its benefices. They happy event occurred in 1133, when Malachy was 38--five years after the death of the former incumbent.

Having rescued Armagh from oppression, restored discipline, and peace, Malachy insisted on resigning according to the covenant made, appointing a worthy prelate in his place. Though Down and Connor had been united in one diocese, they were again divided in 1137, the saint taking possession of his original see (in 1441 the two diocese were reunited).

As bishop of Down he established the community Ibracense, a congregation of Augustinian canons, with whom he lived. This community acted to spread the custom of following a regular way of life.

Now that more peaceful times blessed the country, our saint decided to make a journey to Rome; he wished to receive confirmation of the many works he had commenced, as well as to receive the pallium for the archbishop of Armagh and for another see to be created (Cashel), but had not received confirmation from Rome.

The next year the saint set out for Rome, passing through England visiting York, then a great center of learning, where he met Saint Waltheof of Kirkham, who gave him a horse. Then he crossed to France where he broke his journey at Clairvaux to visit Saint Bernard. The two saints became great friends. (Saint Bernard wrote Malachy's biography.)

Saint Malachy was so taken with all that he saw, with the wonderful spirit of piety and discipline of the monks, their large number, their order and peace, that he wished to remain there for good but the pope would not consent. Pope Innocent II received him with great honor; he confirmed all his work in Ireland, appointed him legate and promised to send the pallium to Armagh if they were applied for with all formality.

On his return journey, Malachy again visited Clairvaux, leaving some of his companions there to learn the way of life and the rule of the Cistercians. He would have them return later to establish the order in their own country. The order was afterward established at Mellifont (Millifont), County Louth, becoming the parent of many other houses.

Malachy took the shortest route to the north by way of Scotland, where he miraculously restored to health Henry, the son of King David (son of Saint Margaret). Malachy told the prince, "Be of good courage; you will not die this time," and sprinkled him with holy water. The following day the dangerously ill boy was well.

Arriving in Ireland again, he was welcomed by the people and priests as their father returned. As the newly-appointed legate, he discharged his office by holding synods and enforcing further regulations for abolishing abuses. Malachy continued to work many miracles on the sick and afflicted.

He added further to the abbey of Bangor, building a stone church similar to what he had seen on the continent. He repaired the cathedral at Down, which was famous for the joint tomb of Saints Patrick, Columkille, and Brigid.

The pope died before the pallia were sent. Two other popes were elected and died that year. Saint Malachy convened the bishops in a synod in 1148 and received from them a commission to make a fresh application to the Apostolic See to obtain pallia for the two metropolitans. Malachy set off to see Pope Eugenius III, who was in France. Slowed by the political strategies of King Stephen in England, by the time he reached France, the pope had returned to Rome.

On his second journey to Rome, he passed through Clairvaux a third time in 1148. As he approached the Alps in October, the weather was hot and sultry; he fell ill with a fever. He was given medical attention by the monks, who with Saint Bernard, loved him as a dear friend. As his fever grew worse, he told them that their pains were in vain because he would not recover. He demanded that he be taken downstairs to the church so that he might receive the last sacraments. He died in Saint Bernard's arms on November 2 at the age of 54.

The body of the saint was buried in the Lady Chapel at Clairvaux. Saint Bernard exchanged Saint Malachy's tunic for one of his own. Thereafter he wore this tunic of his dead friend whenever he chanted Mass on great feasts. At Malachy's Requiem, Saint Bernard used the post-Communion prayer for a Confessor Bishop, rather than for the dead--thus, one saint canonized another.

Many miracles were worked at the tomb in addition to the ones attributed to him as he walked the earth. Saint Bernard records some after saying, "his first and greatest miracle was himself. His inward beauty, strength, and purity are proved by his life; there was nothing in his behavior that could offend anyone."

Nevertheless, many are the recorded miracles wrought by Malachy. In Ivrea in the Piedmont, Italy, Malachy cured his host's child on his return from Rome. He exorcised two women in Coleraine, and another at Lismore. In Ulster a sick man was immediately cured by lying on the saint's bed. A sick baby was healed instantly in Leinster. In Saul, County Down, a woman whose madness was so great that she was tearing her limbs with her teeth was cured when he laid hands on her. At Antrim a dying man recovered the use of his tongue and his speech on receiving the holy Viaticum. A paralyzed boy was cured in Cashel and another near Munster. At Cork he raised from a sick bed one whom he named bishop of the city; in another unnamed place a notorious scold was cured when she made her first confession to Malachy. On an island where the fishermen had suffered for a lack of fish, he knelt by the shore and prayed--the fish returned.

He succeeded in replacing the Celtic liturgy with the Roman and is famous as a pioneer of Gregorian reform. His was the first papal canonization of an Irish saint.

When the first Cistercian pope, Blessed Eugenius III, asked his old abbot Saint Bernard for guidance as the pontiff, the holy doctor answered that he should study the life and follow the example of Saint Malachy:

"From the first day of his conversion to the last of his life he lived without personal possessions. "He had neither manservants nor maidservants; nor villages nor hamlets; nor, in fact, any revenues, ecclesiastical or secular, even when he was bishop.

"There was nothing whatever assigned for his episcopal upkeep for he had not a house of his own. But he was always going about all the parishes, preaching the Gospel and living by the Gospel. . . . When he went out to preach he was accompanied by others on foot; bishop and legate that he was he too went on foot. That is the apostolic rule; and it is the more to be admired in Malachy because it is too rare in others. . . .

"They lord it over the clergy--he made himself the servant of all.

"They either do not preach the Gospel and yet eat; or preach the Gospel in order to eat--Malachy imitating Paul, eats that he may preach the Gospel.

"They suppose that arrogance and gain are godliness--Malachy claims for himself by right only toil and a burden.
"They count themselves happy if they enlarge their borders--Malachy glories in enlarging charity.

"They gather into barns and fill the wine-jars that they may load their tables--Malachy foregathers men into deserts and solitudes that he may fill heaven.

"They though they receive tithes and first-fruits and oblations besides customs and tribute by the gift of Caesar and countless other revenues, nevertheless take counsel as to what they may eat and drink--Malachy having nothing enriches many out of the store- houses of faith.

"Of their desire and anxiety there is no end--Malachy, desiring nothing, knows not how to be solicitous for tomorrow.

"They exact from the poor that they may give to the rich--Malachy implores the rich to provide for the poor.

"They empty the purses of their subjects--he for their sins loads altars with vows and peace offerings.

"They build lofty palaces, raise towers and ramparts to the skies-- Malachy, not having whereon to lay his head, does the work of an evangelist.

"They ride on horses with a throng of men who eat bread for nought, and that is not theirs--Malachy girt around by a throng of holy brethren goes on foot bearing the bread of angels.

"They do not even know their congregation--he instructs them.

"They honor powerful men and tyrants--he punishes them.

"O apostolic man! whom so many and such striking signs of apostleship adorn. What wonder that he has wrought such wonder, being so great a wonder himself." --Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

What is known as the "Prophecy of Saint Malachy" consists of enigmatical oracles, taken from Scriptures, each of which is supposed to contain some reference to the pope from Celestine to the end of the world. The prophecy's symbolic terms are very accurate until 1590, but extremely vague thereafter, leading to the conclusion that it is a 16th forgery (Attwater, Delaney, Lawlor, Murray, White).


He is portrayed in art presenting an apple to a king, thus restoring his sight; or instructing a king in a cell (White). 


SOURCE : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/1103.shtml


Statue de Saint Malachy (1094–1148), 14115 
Fourteen Mile Road, Sterling Heights, MI.
SOURCE :
SOURCE : http://nouvl.evangelisation.free.fr/malachie_darmagh.htm
SOURCE :
St. Malachy

St. Malachy, whose family name was O'Morgair, was born in Armagh in 1094. St. Bernard describes him as of noble birth.

He was baptized Maelmhaedhoc (a name which has been Latinized as Malachy) and was trained under Imhar O'Hagan, subsequently Abbot of Armagh. After a long course of studies he was ordained priest by St. Cellach (Celsus) in 1119. In order to perfect himself in sacred liturgy and theology, he proceeded to Lismore, where he spent nearly two years under St. Malchus. He was then chosen Abbot of Bangor, in 1123. A year later, he was consecrated Bishop of Connor, and, in 1132, he was promoted to the primacy of Armagh.


St. Bernard gives us many interesting anecdotes regarding St. Malachy, and highly praises his zeal for religion both in Connor and Armagh. In 1127 he paid a second visit to Lismore and acted for a time as confessor to Cormac MacCarthy, Prince of Desmond. While Bishop of Connor, he continued to reside at Bangor, and when some of the native princes sacked Connor, he brought the Bangor monks to Iveragh, County Kerry, where they were welcomed by King Cormac. On the death of St. Celsus (who was buried at Lismore in 1129), St. Malachy was appointed Archbishop of Armagh, 1132, which dignity he accepted with great reluctance. Owing to intrigues, he was unable to take possession of his see for two years; even then he had to purchase the Bachal Isu (Staff of Jesus) from Niall, the usurping lay-primate.


During three years at Armagh, as St. Bernard writes, St. Malachy restored the discipline of the Church, grown lax during the intruded rule of a series of lay-abbots, and had the Roman Liturgy adopted.


St. Bernard continues: Having extirpated barbarism and re-established Christian morals, seeing all things tranquil he began to think of his own peace. He therefore resigned Armagh, in 1138, and returned to Connor, dividing the see into Down and Connor, retaining the former. He founded a priory of Austin Canons at Downpatrick, and was unceasing in his episcopal labours.


Early in 1139 he journeyed to Rome, via Scotland, England, and France, visiting St. Bernard at Clairvaux. He petitioned Pope Innocent for palliums for the Sees of Armagh and Cashel, and was appointed legate for Ireland. On his return visit to Clairvaux he obtained five monks for a foundation in Ireland, under Christian, an Irishman, as superior: thus arose the great Abbey of Mellifont in 1142. St. Malachy set out on a second journey to Rome in 1148, but on arriving at Clairvaux he fell sick, and died in the arms of St. Bernard, on 2 November.


Numerous miracles are recorded of him, and he was also endowed with the gift of prophecy. St. Malachy was canonized by Pope Clement (III), on 6 July, 1199, and his feast is celebrated on 3 November, in order not to clash with the Feast of All Souls.


An account of the relics of St. Malachy will be found in Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, CLXXXV.


For a discussion of the prophecies concerning the popes, known as St. Malachy's Prophecies, the reader is referred to the article PROPHECIES.



Grattan-Flood, William. "St. Malachy." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 4 Nov. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09565a.htm>.





St. Malachy, Archbishop of Ardmach or Armagh, Confessor in Ireland

From St. Bernard’s Life, l. 4, c. 4. and the Life of St. Malachy, written by St. Bernard himself, partly from his own knowledge, and partly from relations sent him from Ireland by the abbot Congan, t. 2. p. 663. ad p. 698. ed. Mabill. Also St. Bernard’s Letters, ep. 341. (p. 314. t. 1.) ad Malachiam Hiberniæ Archiep. anno 1140. ep. 356. (p. 223. anno 1141.) ad Malachiam Hiberniæ Archiep. sedis Apostolicæ legatum. And ep. 374. anno 1148. (p. 337.) ad Fratres de Hibernia, de Transitu Malachiæ, giving his brethren in Ireland an account of his death. Also St. Bernard’s two Sermons, one spoken at his funeral, in transitu S. Malachiæ, (p. 1048. t. 3.) the other on his anniversary festival, entitled, De S. Malachiâ, p. 1052. t. 3. ed. Mabill. See the bull of the canonization of St. Malachy, published by Mabillon, ib. p. 698. St. Bernard’s discourses on St. Malachy are ranked amongst the most methodical and elegant of his writings. He seems to surpass himself when he speaks of this saint. The Jesuit Maffei, a true judge and passionate student of eloquence, placed his translation of St. Bernard’s Life of St. Malachy the first among the seventeen elegant lives of confession which he published in Italian.

A.D. 1148

IN the fifth century Ireland was converted from heathenism to Christianity. Through the three succeeding ages it became the principal seat of learning in Christendom. So happy a distinction was owing to the labours and apostolic lives of the native ecclesiastics, who were never known to abuse the great immunities and secular endowments conferred on them by the Irish princes. This change from idolatry to the gospel was brought about in a period when the Roman empire in the West was torn to pieces, and when inundations of pagan nations seized on the greater part of Europe. In that state, providence, ever watchful over the Church, erected an asylum in this remote island for its repose and extension. For three hundred years the Christian youth of the continent flocked hither to be instructed in the science of the saints, and in the literature which leads to it. In the ninth century Ireland began to feel the grievances which followed the invasion of the sanctuary in other countries. It was infested in its turn by heathen barbarians, who under the general name of Normans, ravaged at the same time the maritime districts of France, England, and Scotland, and finally, made establishments in all. Nothing sacred had escaped their depredations; wherever their power prevailed they massacred the ecclesiastics, demolished the monasteries, and committed their libraries to the flames. In these confusions the civil power was weakened; and kings contending with a foreign enemy, and with vassals often equally dangerous, lost much of their authority. The national assemblies, the guardians and framers of law, were seldom convened; and when convened they wanted the power, perhaps the wisdom, to restore the old constitution, or establish a better on its ruins. Through a long and unavoidable intercourse between the natives and the oppressors of religion and law, a great relaxation of piety and morals gradually took place. Vice and ignorance succeeded to the Christian virtues, and to knowledge. Factions among the governors of provinces ended in a dissolution of the Irish monarchy on the demise of Malachy II. in 1022; and, through the accumulation of so many evils, the nation was, in a great degree, sunk in barbarism.

It was in this state of the nation that the glorious saint, whose life we are writing, was born. Malachy, 1 called in Irish Maol-Maodhog O Morgain, 2 was a native of Armagh; his parents were persons of the first rank, and very virtuous, especially his mother, who was most solicitous to train him up in the fear of God. When he was of age to go to school, not content to procure him pious tutors whilst he studied grammar at Armagh, 3 she never ceased at home to instil into his tender mind the most perfect sentiments and maxims of piety; which were deeply imprinted in his heart by that interior master in whose school he was from his infancy a great proficient. He was meek, humble, obedient, modest, obliging to all, and very diligent in his studies; he was temperate in diet, vanquished sleep, and had no inclination to childish sports and diversions, so that he far outstripped his fellow-students in learning, and his very masters in virtue. In his studies, devotions, and little practices of penance he was very cautious and circumspect to shun as much as possible the eyes of others, and all danger of vain-glory, the most baneful poison of virtues. For this reason he spent not so much time in churches as he desired to do, but prayed much in retired places, and at all times frequently lifted up his pure hands and heart to heaven in such a manner as not to be taken notice of. When his master took a walk to a neighbouring village without any other company but his beloved scholar, the pious youth often remained a little behind to send up with more liberty, as it were by stealth, short inflamed ejaculations from the bow of his heart, which was always bent, says St. Bernard.

To learn more perfectly the art of dying to himself, and living wholly to God and his love, Malachy put himself under the discipline of a holy recluse named Imar or Imarius, who led a most austere life in continual prayer in a cell near the great church of Armagh. This step in one of his age and quality astonished the whole city, and many severely censured and laughed at him for it; many ascribed this undertaking to melancholy, fickleness, or the rash heat of youth; and his friends grieved and reproached him, not being able to bear the thought that one of so delicate a constitution and so fine accomplishments and dispositions for the world, should embrace a state of such rigour, and, in their eyes, so mean and contemptible. The saint valued not their censures, and learned by despising them with humility and meekness to vanquish both the world and himself. To attain to the true love of God he condemned himself whilst alive, as it were, to the grave, says St. Bernard, and submitted himself to the rule of a man; not being like those who undertake to teach what they have never learned, and by seeking to gather and multiply scholars without having ever been at school, become blind guides of the blind. The simplicity of the disciple’s obedience, his love of silence, and his fervour in mortification and prayer, were both the means and the marks of his spiritual progress, which infinitely endeared him to his master, and edified even those who at first had condemned his choice. Their railleries were soon converted into praises, and their contempt into admiration: and many, moved by the example of his virtue, desired to be his imitators and companions in that manner of life. Malachy prevailed upon Imar to admit the most fervent among these petitioners, and they soon formed a considerable community. Malachy was by his eminent virtues a model to all the rest, though he always looked upon himself as the last and most unworthy of that religious society. A disciple so meek, so humble, so obedient, so mortified and devout, could not fail, by the assiduous exercises of penance and prayer, to advance apace to the summit of evangelical perfection. Imar, his superior, and Celsus or Ceallach, archbishop of Armagh, 4 judged him worthy of holy orders, and this prelate obliged him, notwithstanding all the resistance he could make, to receive at his hands the order of deacon, and some time after, the priesthood, when he was twenty-five years old, though the age which the canons then required for priestly orders was thirty years, as St. Bernard testifies; but his extraordinary merit was just reason for dispensing with that rule. At the same time, the archbishop made him his vicar to preach the word of God to the rude people, and to extirpate evil customs, which were many, grievous, and inveterate, and most horribly disfigured the face of that church. Wonderful was the zeal with which St. Malachy discharged this commission; abuses and vices were quite defeated and dispersed before his face: barbarous customs were abolished, diabolical charms and superstitions were banished; and whatever squared not with the rule of the gospel could not stand before him. He seemed to be a flame amidst the forests, or a hook extirpating noxious plants: with a giant’s heart he appeared at work on every side. He made several regulations in ecclesiastical discipline, which were authorized by the bishops, and settled the regular solemn rehearsal of the canonical hours in all the churches of the diocess, which, since the Danish invasions, had been omitted even in cities: in which it was of service to him that from his youth he had applied himself to the church music. What was yet of much greater importance, he renewed the use of the sacraments, especially of confession or penance, of confirmation, and regular matrimony. St. Malachy, fearing lest he was not sufficiently skilled in the canons of the church to carry on a thorough reformation of discipline, and often labouring under great anxieties of mind on this account, resolved, with the approbation of his prelate, to repair for some time to Malchus, bishop of Lismore, who had been educated in England where he became a monk of Winchester, and was then for his learning and sanctity reputed the oracle of all Ireland. Being courteously received by this good old man, he was diligently instructed by him in all things belonging to the divine service, and to the care of souls, and, at the same time, he employed his ministry in that church.

Ireland being at that time divided into several little kingdoms, 5 it happened that Cormac, king of Munster, was dethroned by his wicked brother, and, in his misfortunes, had recourse to Bishop Malchus, not to recover his crown, but to save his soul; fearing him who takes away the spirit of princes, and being averse from shedding more blood for temporal interests. At the news of the arrival of such a guest, Malchus made preparations to receive him with due honour; but the king would by no means consent to his desires, declaring it was his intention to think no more of worldly pomp, but to live among his canons, to put on sackcloth, and labour by penance to secure to himself the possession of an eternal kingdom. Malchus made him a suitable exhortation on the conditions of his sacrifice, and of a contrite heart, and assigned him a little house to lodge in, and appointed St. Malachy his master, with bread and water for his sustenance. Through our saint’s exhortations the king began to relish the sweetness of the incorruptible heavenly food of the soul, his heart was softened to compunction; and whilst he subdued his flesh by austerities, he washed his soul with penitential tears, like another David, never ceasing to cry out with him to God: Behold my baseness and my misery, and pardon me all my offences. The sovereign judge was not deaf to his prayer, but (according to his infinite goodness) heard it not only in the sense in which it was uttered, purely for spiritual benefits, but also with regard to the greatest temporal favours, granting him his holy grace which he asked, and in addition restoring him to his earthly kingdom. For a neighbouring king, moved with indignation at the injury done to the majesty of kings in his expulsion, sought out the penitent in his cell, and finding him insensible to all worldly motives of interest, pressed him, with those of piety, and the justice which he owed to his own subjects; and not being able yet to succeed, engaged both Malchus the bishop and St. Malachy to employ their authority and command, and to represent to him that justice to his people, and the divine honour, obliged him not to oppose the design. Therefore, with the succours of this king and the activity of many loyal subjects, he was easily forced again upon the throne; and he ever after loved and honoured St. Malachy as his father. Our saint was soon after called back by Celsus and Imar, both by letters and messaged to Armagh.

The great abbey of Benchor, 6 now in the county of Down, lay at that time in a desolate condition, and its revenues were possessed by an uncle of St. Malachy, till it should be re-established. This uncle resigned it to his holy nephew that he might settle in it regular observance, and became himself a monk under his direction in this house, which, by the care of the saint, became a flourishing seminary of learning and piety, though not so numerous as it had formerly been. St. Malachy governed this house some time, and, to use St. Bernard’s words, was in his deportment a living rule, and a bright glass, or, as it were, a book laid open in which all might learn the true precepts of religious conversation. He not only always went before his little flock, in all monastic observances, but also did particular penances, and other actions of perfection, which no man was able to equal; and he worked with his brethren in hewing timber, and in the like manual labour. Several miraculous cures of sick persons, some of which St. Bernard recounts, added to his reputation. But the whole tenour of his life, says this saint, was the greatest of his miracles; and the composure of his mind, and the inward sanctity of his soul, appeared in his countenance, which was always modestly cheerful. A sister of our saint, who had led a worldly life, died, and he recommended her soul to God for a long time in the sacrifice of the altar. Having intermitted this for thirty days, he seemed one night to be advertised in his sleep that his sister waited with sorrow in the church-yard, and had been thirty days without food. This he understood of spiritual food; and having resumed the custom of saying mass, or causing one to be said for her every day, saw her after some time admitted to the door of the church, then within the church, and some days after to the altar, where she appeared in joy, in the midst of a troop of happy spirits; which vision gave him great comfort. 7

St. Malachy, in the thirtieth year of his age, was chosen bishop of Connor, (now in the county of Antrim,) and, as he peremptorily refused to acquiesce in the election, he was at length obliged by the command of Imar, and the archbishop Celsus, to submit. Upon beginning the exercise of his functions he found that his flock were Christians in name only, but in their manners savage, vicious, and worse than pagans. However, he would not run away like a hireling, but resolved to spare no pains to turn these wolves into sheep. He preached in public with an apostolical vigour, mingling tenderness with a wholesome severity; and when they would not come to the church to hear him, he sought them in the streets and in their houses, exhorted them with tenderness, and often shed tears over them. He offered to God for them the sacrifice of a contrite and humble heart, and sometimes passed whole nights weeping and with his hands stretched forth to heaven in their behalf. The remotest villages and cottages of his diocess he visited, going always on foot, and he received all manner of affronts and sufferings with invincible patience. The most savage hearts were at length softened into humanity and a sense of religion, and the saint restored the frequent use of the sacraments among the people; and whereas he found amongst them very few priests, and those both slothful and ignorant, he filled the diocess with zealous pastors, by whose assistance he banished ignorance and superstition, and established all religious observances, and the practice of piety. In the whole comportment of this holy man, nothing was more admirable than his invincible patience and meekness. All his actions breathed this spirit in such a manner as often to infuse the same into others. Amongst his miracles St. Bernard mentions, that a certain passionate woman, who was before intolerable to all that approached her, was converted into the mildest of women by the saint commanding her in the name of Christ never to be angry more, hearing her confession, and enjoining her a suitable penance; from which time no injuries or tribulations could disturb her.

After some years the city of Connor was taken and sacked by the King of Ulster; upon which St. Malachy, with a hundred and twenty disciples, retired into Munster, and there, with the assistance of King Cormac, built the monastery of Ibrac, which some suppose to have been near Cork, others in the isle of Beg-erin, where St. Imar formerly resided. Whilst our saint governed this holy family in the strictest monastic discipline, humbling himself even to the meanest offices of the community, and, in point of holy poverty and penance, going beyond all his brethren, the archbishop Celsus was taken with that illness of which he died. In his infirmity he appointed St. Malachy to be his successor, conjuring all persons concerned, in the name of St. Patrick, the founder of that see, to concur to that promotion, and oppose the intrusion of any other person. This he not only most earnestly declared by word of mouth, but also recommended by letters to persons of the greatest interest and power in the country, particularly to the two kings of Upper and Lower Munster. This he did out of a zealous desire to abolish a most scandalous abuse which had been the source of all other disorders in the churches of Ireland. For two hundred years past, the family out of which Celsus had been assumed, and which was the most powerful in the country, had, during fifteen generations, usurped the archbishopric as a inheritance; insomuch, that when there was no clergyman of their kindred, they intruded some married man and layman of their family, who, without any holy orders, had the administration and enjoyed the revenues of that see, and even exercised a despotical tyranny over the other bishops of the island. Notwithstanding the precaution taken by Celsus, who was a good man, after his death, though Malachy was canonically elected, pursuant to his desire, Maurice, one of the above-mentioned family, got possession. Malachy declined the promotion, and alleged the dangers of a tumult and bloodshed. Thus three years passed till Malchus bishop of Lismore, and Gillebert, bishop of Limerick, who was the pope’s legate in Ireland, assembled the bishops and great men of the island, and threatened Malachy with excommunication if he refused to accept the archbishopric. Hereupon he submitted, but said: “You drag me to death. I obey in hopes of martyrdom; but, on this condition, that if the business succeed according to your desires, when all things are settled, you shall permit me to return to my former spouse, and my beloved poverty.” They promised he should have the liberty so to do, and he took upon him that charge, and exercised his functions with great zeal through the whole province, except in the city of Armagh, which he did not enter for fear of bloodshed, so long as Maurice lived, which was two years more.

At the end of five years, after the demise of Celsus, Maurice died, and, to complete his iniquities and increase his damnation, named his kinsman Nigellus for his successor. But King Cormac, and the bishops, resolved to instal St. Malachy in that see, and he was acknowledged the only lawful metropolitan in the year 1133, the thirty-eighth of his age. Nigellus was obliged to leave Armagh, but carried with him two relics held by the Irish in great veneration; and the common people were foolishly persuaded that he was archbishop who had them in his possession. These were a book of the gospels which had belonged to St. Patrick, and a crosier called the staff of Jesus, which was covered with gold, and ornamented with rich jewels. By this fallacy some still adhered to him, and his kindred violently persecuted St. Malachy. One of the chief amongst them invited him to a conference at his house with a secret design to murder him. The saint, against the advice of all his friends, went thither, offering himself to martyrdom for the sake of peace; he was accompanied only by three disciples, who were ready to die with him. But the courage and heavenly mildness of his countenance disarmed his enemies as soon as he appeared amongst them: and he who had designed to murder him, rose up to do him honour, and a peace was concluded on all sides. Nigellus not long after surrendered the sacred book and crosier into his hands; and several of the saint’s enemies were cut off by visible judgments. A raging pestilence, which broke out at Armagh, was suddenly averted by his prayers, and he wrought many other miracles. Having rescued that church from oppression, and restored discipline and peace, he insisted upon resigning the archiepiscopal dignity, according to covenant, and ordained Gelasius, a worthy ecclesiastic, in his place. He then returned to his former see: but whereas the two sees of Connor and Down had been long united, he again divided them, consecrated another bishop for Connor, and reserved to himself only that of Down, which was the smaller and poorer. Here he established a community of regular canons, with whom he attended to prayer and meditation, as much as the external duties of his charge would permit him. He regulated every thing and formed great designs for the divine honour.

To obtain the confirmation of many things which he had done, he undertook a journey to Rome: in which one of his motives was to procure palls for two archbishops; namely, for the see of Armagh, which had long wanted that honour through the neglect and abuses of the late usurpers, and for another metropolitical see which Celsus had formed a project of, but which had not been confirmed by the pope. 8 St. Malachy left Ireland in 1139; conversed some time at York with a holy priest named Sycar, an eminent servant of God, and in his way through France visited Clairvaux, where St. Bernard first became acquainted with him, and conceived the greatest affection and veneration for him on account of his sanctity. St. Malachy was so edified with the wonderful spirit of piety which he discovered in St. Bernard and his monks, that he most earnestly desired to join them in their holy exercises of penance and contemplation, and to end his days in their company; but he was never able to gain the pope’s consent to leave his bishopric. Proceeding on his journey, at Yvree in Piedmont he restored to health the child of the host with whom he lodged, who was at the point of death. Pope Innocent II. received him with great honour; but would not hear of his petition for spending the remainder of his life at Clairvaux. He confirmed all he had done in Ireland, made him his legate in that island, and promised him the pall. The saint in his return called again at Clairvaux, where, says St. Bernard, he gave us a second time his blessing. Not being able to remain himself with those servants of God, he left his heart there, and four of his companions, who taking the Cistercian habit, afterwards came over into Ireland, and instituted the abbey of Mellifont, of that Order, and the parent of many others in those parts. St. Malachy went home through Scotland, where king David earnestly entreated him to restore to health his son Henry, who lay dangerously ill. The saint said to the sick prince: “Be of good courage; you will not die this time.” Then sprinkled him with holy water, and the next day the prince was perfectly recovered.

St. Malachy was received in Ireland with the greatest joy, and discharged his office of legate with wonderful zeal and fruit, preaching every where, holding synods, making excellent regulations, abolishing abuses, and working many miracles. One of these St. Charles Borromeo used to repeat to his priests, when he exhorted them not to fail being watchful and diligent in administering in due time the sacrament of extreme unction to the sick. It is related by St. Bernard as follows. 9 The lady of a certain knight who dwelt near Benchor, being at the article of death, St. Malachy was sent for; and after suitable exhortations he prepared himself to give her extreme-unction. It seemed to all her friends better to postpone that sacrament till the next morning, when she might be better disposed to receive it. St. Malachy yielded to their earnest entreaties, though with great unwillingness. The holy man having made the sign of the cross upon the sick woman, retired to his chamber; but was disturbed in the beginning of the night with an uproar through the whole house, and lamentations and cries, that their mistress was dead. The bishop ran to her chamber, and found her departed; whereupon, lifting up his hands to heaven, he said with bitter grief and remorse: “It is I myself who have sinned by this delay, not this poor creature.” Desiring earnestly to render to the dead what he accused himself that he by his neglect had robbed her of, he continued standing over the corpse, and praying with many bitter tears and sighs; and from time to time turning towards the company, he said to them: “Watch and pray.” They passed the whole night in sighs and reciting the psalter, and other devout prayers; when, at break of day, the deceased lady opened her eyes, sat up, and knowing St. Malachy, with devout bow saluted him: at which sight all present were exceedingly amazed, and their sadness was turned into joy. St. Malachy would annoint her without delay, knowing well that by this sacrament sins are remitted, and the body receives help as is most expedient. The lady, to the greater glory of God, recovered and lived some time to perform the penance imposed on her by St. Malachy; then relapsed, and with the usual succours of the church, happily departed.

St. Malachy built a church of stone at Benchor on a new plan, such as he had seen in other countries: at which unusual edifice the people of the country were struck with great admiration. 10 He likewise rebuilt or repaired the cathedral church at Down, famous for the tomb of St. Patrick; whither also the bodies of St. Columba and St. Bridget were afterwards removed. 11 St. Malachy’s zeal for the re-establishment of the Irish church in its splendour moved him to meditate a second journey into France, in order to meet Pope Eugenius III. who was come into that kingdom. Innocent II. died before the two palls which he had promised could be prepared and sent. Celestine II. and Lucius II. died in less than a year and a half. This affair having been so long delayed, St. Malachy convened the bishops of Ireland, and received from them a deputation to make fresh application to the apostolic see. In his journey through England, whilst he lodged with the holy canons at Gisburn, a woman was brought to him, who had a loathsome cancer in her breast; whom he sprinkled with water which he had blessed, and the next day she was perfectly healed. Before he reached France the pope was returned to Rome: but St. Malachy determined not to cross the Alps without first visiting his beloved Clairvaux. He arrived there in October, 1148, and was received with great joy by St. Bernard and his holy monks, in whose happy company he was soon to end his mortal pilgrimage. Having celebrated mass with his usual devotion on the feast of St. Luke, he was seized with a fever, which obliged him to take to his bed. The good monks were very active in assisting him; but he assured them that all the pains they took about him was to no purpose, because he should not recover. St. Bernard doubts not but he had a foreknowledge of the day of his departure. How sick and weak soever he was, he would needs rise and crawl down stairs into the church, that he might there receive the extreme-unction and the viaticum, which he did lying on ashes strewed on the floor. He earnestly begged that all persons would continue their prayers for him after his death, promising to remember them before God; he tenderly commended also to their prayers all the souls which had been committed to his charge; and sweetly reposed in our Lord on All Souls’-day, the 2nd of November, in the year 1148, of his age fifty-four; and was interred in the chapel of our Lady at Clairvaux, and carried to the grave on the shoulders of abbots. At his burial was present a youth, one of whose arms was struck with a dead palsy, so that it hung useless and without life by his side. Him St. Bernard called, and taking up the dead arm, applied it to the hand of the deceased Saint, and it was wonderfully restored to itself, as this venerable author himself assures us. 12 St. Bernard, in his second discourse on this saint, says to his monks: 13 “May he protect us by his merits, whom he has instructed by his example, and confirmed by his miracles.” At his funeral, having sung a mass of Requiem for his soul, he added to the mass a collect to implore the divine grace through his intercession; having been assured of his glory by a revelation at the altar, as his disciple Geoffroy relates in the fourth book of his life. St. Malachy was canonized by a bull of Pope Clement, (either the third or fourth,) addressed to the general chapter of the Cistercians, in the third year of his pontificate. 14

Two things says St. Bernard, 15 made Malachy a saint, perfect meekness (which is always founded in sincere profound humility) and a lively faith: by the first, he was dead to himself; by the second, his soul was closely united to God in the exercises of assiduous prayer and contemplation. He sanctified him in faith and mildness. 16 It is only by the same means we can become saints. How perfectly Malachy was dead to himself, appeared by his holding the metropolitical dignity so long as it was attended with extraordinary dangers and tribulations, and by his quitting it as soon as he could enjoy it in peace: how entirely he was dead to the world, he showed by his love of sufferings and poverty, and by the state of voluntary privations and self-denial, in which he lived in the midst of prosperity, being always poor to himself, and rich to the poor, as he is styled by St. Bernard. In him this father draws the true character of a good pastor, when he tells us, that self-love and the world were crucified in his heart, and that he joined the closest interior solitude with the most diligent application to all the exterior functions of his ministry. “He seemed to live wholly to himself, yet so devoted to the service of his neighbour as if he lived wholly for them. 17 So perfectly did neither charity withdraw him from the strictest watchfulness over himself, nor the care of his own soul hinder him in any thing from attending to the service of others. If you saw him amidst the cares and functions of his pastoral charge, you would say he was born for others, not for himself. Yet if you considered him in his retirement, or observed his constant recollection, you would think that he lived only to God and himself.”

Note 1. Maol-Maodhog was the name given to St. Malachy at the font of baptism. It is a compound which merits explanation, as it relates to a pious custom among the ancient Irish.—Maol, in the ecclesiastical acceptation of that adjective, signifies tonsured; and prefixed to Maodhog, it denotes one tonsured, i. e. devoted to the patronage of St. Maodhog, who was the first bishop of Ferns, and is honoured on the 31st of January. Of this prefix of Maol denoting the dedication of infants to patron saints, there are numberless examples in the Irish annals; as Maol-Muire; Maol-Eoin; Maol-Colum; Maol-Brighid; i. e. the tonsured to the Blessed Mary, to John the Baptist, to Columbkille, to Brigit, &c. The piety of parents converted these compounds to baptismal names. Instead of Maol, others among the ancient Irish prefixed the word Gilla or Gilda, (in baptismal names,) to the saints they chose as patrons to infants. Gilla signifies servant, and hence the name of Gilla-De, the servant of God; Gilla-Croist, the servant of Christ; Gilla-Padraic, the servant of Patrick; Gilla-na-Naomb, the servant of the saints, &c. [back]

Note 2. Sir James Ware, Antiq. Hibern. c. 26. p. 206. 210, &c. Item, de Script. Hibern. p. 54. and Tanner, p. 502. [back]

Note 3. Ardmacha in the Irish language signifies a high field. [back]

Note 4. His life is on the 6th of April. Hanmer (chron. 101,) is certainly mistaken when he says that Celsus was a married man, and was buried with his wife at Armagh. Out of the fifteen intruders into the see of Armagh from the year 885, eight were married men; but they only usurped the temporalities, and had a suffragan or vicar who was a consecrated bishop, and who performed all the functions, as Colgan and Ware observe; whence these vicars are named in some catalogues instead of the intruders. Maol-brighid, who was the first archbishop of the fifteen of this family, and the thirteenth in descent from Nial the Great, was a charitable and worthy prelate; but the thirteen following were oppressors of the see. Celsus, the last prelate of the family, was duly elected, and put an end to this tyranny by recommending the canonical election of Malachy. St. Celsus is usually styled in the Irish annals Comarba of St. Patrick, i. e. his successor. [back]

Note 5. Ireland was anciently divided into two parts, the southern called Leth-Moga, or Mogha’s-share; and the northern called Leth-Cuinn, or Conn’s-share; from Concead-cathach, king of Ireland, and Mogha-muadhad, king of Munster. The partition was made between the two contending kings about the year 192, by a line drawn from the mouth of the river Liffey at Dublin, to Galway. [back]

Note 6. Benchor, now corruptly called Bangor, is derived from the Latin Benedictus-chorus, Blessed choir. It was founded by St. Comgall about the year 550, is said to have had sometimes three thousand monks at once; at least from it swarmed many other monasteries in Ireland and Scotland; and St. Columban, a monk of this house, propagated its institute in France and Italy. The buildings were destroyed by Danish pirates, who massacred here nine hundred monks in one day. From that time it lay in ruins till St. Malachy restored it. A small part of St. Malachy’s building yet subsists. The traces of the old foundation discover it to have been of great extent. See the new accurate History of the County of Down, p. 64, published in 1744, and Sir James Ware, in. Monasteriologiâ Hibernicâ, p. 210. [back]

Note 7. S. Bern. Vit. S. Malachiæ, c. 5. [back]

Note 8. The great metropolitical see of Armagh was erected by St. Patrick, in the year 444, according to the annals of Ulster, quoted by Sir James Ware. The great church was built in 1262, by the archbishop Patrick O’Scanlain, a great benefactor to this see. It was served by regular canons of St. Austin, who are said to have been founded here by Imar O’Hedagain, master of St. Malachy O’Morgair, who settled that community in this church when he was archbishop. The metropolitical see erected by Celsus, the name of which was unknown to St. Bernard, was perhaps that of Tuam, to which a pall was first granted in 1152. [back]

Note 9. S. Bernard, invit. S. Malachiæ, c. 24, (al. 20) p. 686. ed. Mabill. fol. [back]

Note 10. St. Bernard, in vit. S. Malachiæ, c. 26. [back]

Note 11. The see of Down was again united to that of Connor, by Eugenius IV. in 1441. Dun signified a hill amongst the Irish, Britons, Saxons, and Gauls. Whence Dun-keran, Dun-gannon, Dun-garvan, &c. Dunelmum, Camelodunum, Sorbiodunum, &c. Lugdunum, Juliodunum, &c. (Sir James Ware, Antiq. Hibern. c. 29. p. 296.) Dun also signifies a habitation, generally erected on elevated ground. We learn from the ancient Irish Annals that many stone churches had been erected in Ireland before the time of St. Malachy. They were, in the language of the country, called Damliags; from Dam a house, and liag a stone. [back]

Note 12. S. Bern. vit. S. Malach. c. ult. p. 698. [back]

Note 13. Serm. 2 de S. Malach. p. 1052. [back]

Note 14. Mabill. ib. p. 698. [back]

Note 15. Serm. de S. Malachiâ. [back]

Note 16. Ecclus. xi. 5. [back]

Note 17. “Totus suus et totus omnium erat,” &c. S. Bern. Serm. 2. de S. [back]

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

SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/11/031.html

Saint Malachy O’More

Also known as
  • Maelmhaedhoc O’Morgair
  • Maolmhaodhog ua Morgair
  • Maol Maedoc
  • Malachy O’Morgair
  • Malachi
  • Malachy of Armagh
  • Máel Máedóc Ua Morgair
Profile

Son of a teacher; brother of Saint Christian O’Morgair of Clogher. Upon the death of his parents, Malachy entered religious life. Ordained at age 25. Studied under Saint Malchus. Preacher and clerical reformer. Instituted celibacy regulations and other disciplines on the Irish clergy. Re-introduced the use of canonical hour prayers. Abbot at Bangor. Bishop of Connor, Ireland at age 30. Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland at age 35, the chosen successor of Saint Celsus of Armagh. Spiritual teacher of Blessed Christian O’Conarchy.

Malachy replaced the Celtic liturgy (the “Stowe” missal) with the Roman liturgy in an effort to bring uniformity and discipline to the clergy and those in religious life. A miracle worker and healer, he sometimes cured people instantly by laying his hands upon them. Friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who helped him establish the Cistercians in Ireland, wrote a biography of him, and sat with him as he died.

One of Malachy’s great claims to popular fame was his gift of prophesy. While in Rome, Italy in 1139, Malachy received a vision showing him all the Popes from his day to the end of time. He wrote poetic descriptions of each of the pontiffs, presented the manuscript to Pope Innocent II – and it was reportedly forgotten until 1590. It has been in print – and hotly debated, both for authenticity and correctness – ever since. According to these prophecies, there is only one Popes remaining after Benedict XVI. It is most likely a 16th century forgery, but see the quotes below, and have a look at Father Dwight Longnecker‘s column on the prophecies.

Born


:http://www.abbaye-saint-benoit.ch/saints/bernard/tome02/malachie/malachie.htm


Voir aussi : http://www.saintmalachy.org/Home/PatronSaint.aspx