St Lawrence O’Toole Feast Day
St Lawrence was of Irish royal stock: his father was chief of Hy Murray, and his mother one of the Clan O'Byrne. At the age of ten he was taken as a hostage by Dermot McMurrogh, King of Leinster. In 1140 the boy obtained permission to enter the monastic school of Glendalough.
If ever you make it to Ireland be sure to pay a visit. It is only about an hour south of Dublin, but even though it is close to city, because of its mountain location it seems to be in a different world.
Lawrence is important in Irish church history for a variety of reasons.
The first is that after the invasions of the Vikings in the eighth century and the Normans in the eleventh century, Lawrence was the first native Irish Archbishop of Dublin for several hundred years.
The second reason he was important was that after the Synod of Kells in 1152 when important reforms were to be made to the church structure in Ireland it fell to Lawrence to implement them.
The third reason Lawrence is important is that for many years, right up to the 2nd half of the last century, Lawrence was the only saint in Ireland to be canonized officially by the church. All the rest were proclaimed by the people.
The ‘Isle of Saints and Scholars,’ as is typical of the Irish and their lax attitude to law, just made their own saints when the official church would not do so.
But it is nice, when you go to the cathedral in Dublin and look at the list of archbishops, to see a real Irish name as archbishop, after all the foreign names.