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Saint Ita - The Forgotten Princess

Author(s): James Dunphy

ISBN13: 9781412077781


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    Ida, called the "Brigid of Munster", was born in the present County of Waterford. She became a nun, settling down at Cluain Credhail, a place-name that has ever since been known as Killeedythat is, "Church of St. Ita"in County Limerick. There, she was the head of a community of women. That group seems to have had a school for little boys where the boys were taught "Faith in God with purity of heart; simplicity of life with religion; generosity with love". Her pupils are said to have included Saint Brendan. Her legend places a great deal of emphasis on her austerities are told by St. Cuimin of Down, and numerous miracles are recorded of her. She is also said to be the originator of an Irish lullaby for the infant Jesus, an English version of which was set for voice and piano by the American composer Samuel Barber. She probably died of cancer though contemporary chroniclers describe how her side was consumed by a beetle which eventually grew to the size of a pig, understandable given the early medieval conflation of sanctity and suffering. The particular species of beetle is not described.

    She was also endowed with the gift of prophecy and was held in great veneration by a large number of contemporary saints, men as well as women. When she felt her end approaching she sent for her community of nuns, and invoked the blessing of heaven on the clergy and laity of the district around Kileedy. Not alone was St. Ita a saint, but she was the foster-mother of many saints, including St. Brendan the Navigator, St. Pulcherius (Mochoemog) and Cummian. At the request of Bishop Butler of Limerick, Pope Pius IX granted a special Office and Mass for the feast of St. Ita, which is kept on January 15.

  • James Dunphy

    James Dunphy was born in Lissahane, Kill, Co. Waterford where he has lived all his life. He has a great interest in reading and research and takes part in local amateur stage productions. He writes his own comedy scripts and won a Scr All Ireland medal in 1981 for his part in a comedy sketch performed at the National Stadium, Dublin. He is deeply interested in Gaelic Games and played football for his native parish, Ballyduff. An aficionado of all things equestrian, he has won several Hunter Trials over the years. James is still very active in the business and social life of the local community and takes part in shows around the South East Region. St. Ita: The Forgotten Princess is his second book, following the success of his first publication, My People, My Stories some years ago.

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Saint Ita - The Forgotten Princess

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