Saturday, January 15, 2005

Saint Ita...

Today the church remembers Saint Ita who earned herself the title 'Foster-Mother of the Irish Saints'. She is believed to have educated many of the great Irish monastics, most notably the real discoverer of America St. Brendan the Navigator. She had a convent at Killeedy (from the Irish for 'Ita's Church') in Limerick, but is reputed to be buried at Wether's Well, in Ardfert, Co. Kerry. This well is close to St Brendan's episcopal seat and is said to be the place of his baptism. Indeed, it acquired the title 'Wether's Well' because of the legend that three wethers (sheep) sprung from the well as a baptism offering when the saint was baptised.
Amongst the miracles attributed to Ita are her healing of a beheaded man. She was also noted for her austerity, washing her hands when a gift of money was forced upon her.
It is said that she nursed the infant Jesus in a vision and was thereby inspired to write a hymn.
(The linked hymn is from this site of Medieval Christian texts.)

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