This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 14 -- St. Lawrence O'Toole

They say he was the first Irishman to be archbishop of Dublin, which I guess must be a distinction in church titles, because there were Irish bishops in Ireland while there were pagans swarming all over England, sacrificing children to gods named Wednesday Thursday Friday. [Maybe that was the king on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. My God! Was he a pagan?]

Anyway, young Lawrence had been given to a neighboring king as a hostage at age ten, but became superfluous at age twelve when the king married Lawrence's sister (no word on how old she was). He got handed over to a bishop who naturally raised him for service in the Church. It was said that Lawrence never drank wine, but it was also said that he colored his water so no one would notice. Recalling that he was Irish, I am merely presenting the claims and leading you to believe what you choose.

After his appointment as archbishop of Dublin, he visited Canterbury Cathedral, being careful to observe correct protocol for King Henry II whose claim to the throne of Ireland was being supported by his large army. While Lawrence was in the cathedral, a madman bludgeoned him, trying to make another Thomas Becket. Congregants feared that Lawrence's skull was stoved in, but he calmly stood up, asked for water, which he consecrated and then used to bathe the wound. It stopped bleeding and he resumed saying Mass.

Lawrence had been instrumental in securing recognition for Rory O'Conner (Roderick) as king of Ireland, contingent on Rory's acknowledgment that he was a vassal of Henry II. Given the English troops stationed in Ireland, it seemed like the best approach at the time. Later Rory wanted some codicil to the agreement and Lawrence went back to England to petition for it. The mercurial Henry (watch Lion in Winter for a good illustration of his temperament) declined to hear the petition immediately, being pressed with other matters. Ever the gracious host, he gave Lawrence accommodations in prison while he waited. When Henry went off to Normandy on this pressing business, Lawrence was permitted to follow (in custody). Lawrence fell ill, but had the comfort of hearing that Good King Henry had acceded to his request just before he (the bishop) died.

1 comment:

  1. Oddly enough, the heart of Saint Laurence was stolen in 2012. I'd question members of Yale's Skull and Bones first.