Healy:The Life And Writings Of St. Patrick

Pdf Healy, Rev. John, The Life And Writings Of St. Patrick, Dublin: M. H. Gill & Sons Ltd., 1905
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The Life And Writings Of St. Patrick by Rev. John Healy (1841-1918) was published in 1905. It is an account of the life of the patron saint of Ireland and his religious writings.

Healy, who served as both Bishop of Clonfert (1896-1903) and Archbishop of Tuam (1903-1918), studied in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

St. Patrick is believed to have been born in Roman Britain in 387 and was the son of a deacon. He was captured by Irish raiders who sold him into slavery. In his Confessio and his Epistol, Patrick describes how he took refuge in prayer as he tended his master’s flocks on Mount Slemish in what is now Co. Antrim. He claimed that the voice of God helped him to escape home by boat. He later became a priest and returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Gaelic Irish after he dreamt he heard their voices calling him back.

In St. Patrick’s Confessio he answers various charges and accusations of corruption made against him. He claims that he returned gifts from the wealthy, did not seek payment for baptisms or ordinations and he did not perform his missionary work for personal gain. He converted many Gaelic Irish especially the families of local kings and established religious communities.

Among the legends associated with Patrick was the banishment of the "snakes" from Ireland (perhaps symbolising the pre-Christian druidic religion) and his use of the three leaved shamrock to explain the doctrine of the Christian Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. After establishing Christianity in Ireland, he died in 493 before his followers eventually converted the entire country to the new faith. St. Patrick is believed to have been buried in Downpatrick, Co. Down.

Rev. John Healy was born in 1841 just prior to the Great Famine. He grew up and served as a Roman Catholic clergyman during the late 19th century. In this environment the Catholic Church assumed a powerful position in Irish society following the repeal of the penal laws and Catholic emancipation in 1829.

After Catholic tenant farmers won their rights due to the activities of the Land League and Charles Stuart Parnell, they prospered and supported the Catholic Church financially. From the mid to late 19th century the Anglo-Protestant landowning elite and the established Anglican Church began to lose their dominance over the economic, political and cultural life of Ireland .

The Roman Catholic Church became intimately intertwined with Irish nationalist identity. Religious orders flourished and there was a programme of church building throughout the country. The veneration of St. Patrick as patron saint of Ireland, symbolised a newly energised Irish Catholicism.

Healy died in 1918, the same year the Irish republican Sinn Fein party eclipsed the Home Rule orientated nationalist Irish Parliamentry Party. Following Irish independence, the Catholic Church and the cult of St. Patrick would have a major influence over the new state well into the 20th century. The example of St. Patrick encouraged generations of Irish young people to join Catholic missionary orders of priests and nuns who were active throughout the world.


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