Monday, December 18, 2006

The Irish Madonna of St. Stephen's

One of Toledo's treasures is a copy of the Irish Madonna, acquired by Bishop Schrembs in Hungary and given to St. Stephen's Church in Birmingham. What was an Irish Madonna doing in Hungary? That's quite a story.
The original painting is in the Cathedral of Gyor, but it had come from the Cathedral of Clonfert, in Ireland. When Walter Lynch, Bishop of Clonfert, was arrested by Cromwell's troops, he was able to rescue the painting. Lynch had a particular devotion to the image and took it with him when he was sent into exile. He ended up serving as an auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Gyor. He died there and is buried in the crypt of the cathedral, near the painting he had brought so far. But the story doesn't end there. In 1697, a law was passed expelling all priests from Ireland, confiscating the churches, and outlawing the Faith. On March 17, 1697, the feast of St. Patrick, the image of Our Lady was seen to weep tears of blood. Remember, no one in Gyor had any idea what was happening at the time in Ireland, the original home of the image. That was discovered much later. Thousands of people flocked to the cathedral and observed the miracle. People of all faiths, including Protestants and Jews attested to what they had witnessed. To this day, Catholics from all over the world go as pilgrims to Gyor to pay homage to the image of Our Lady who cried for Ireland.
For a more detailed account of the story, click HERE.

2 comments:

Hooda Thunkit said...

Jeffery,

What a marvelous story!

Much better than the stories we are
reading about these days.

Mother church will survive, of that I have no doubt.

Jeffrey Smith said...

It's a foredrawn conclusion. I'm afraid I'm going to have to post on the health of the Church at Just A Comment soon. Heard a couple newspaper hacks talking on television recently wondering whether the Church could survive. It's a bit ridiculous to hear a couple reporters in a small city acting like an entity with more than a billion members, and growing, is going to pay attention to their nonsense.