Sunday, January 16, 2011

This saint is the Foster Mother of the Saints of Ireland

                         January 15 -- St. Ita

St. Ita, originally Dorothea or Deidre, was born in county Waterford, Ireland in 480 of noble lineage. 

From an early age, Ita had an unusual calling to prayer and holiness.  She embodied the six virtues of Irish womanhood--wisdom, purity, beauty, musical ability, gentle speech and needle skills. 

Although she was considered very feminine, she was also strongly individualistic and firm of purpose.  When her father arranged a marriage for her with a young nobleman, Ita resists with uncommon fervor by praying and fasting for three days asking God for deliverance from this unwanted fate. 

Her father acquiesces because God sent an angel to him in his sleep to tell him of his daughter's particular mission in the conversion of many souls.

St. Ita became a nun at the age of sixteen.  She established a convent which became a school for orphan boys.  The wisdom she gained through solitude and prayer was directed in all her teachings for the boys under her care, many of whom became saints such as St. Brendan , St. Mochoemoc and St. Cummian,  earning her the title of "The Foster Mother of the Saints of Ireland".

Many extraordinary miracles are attributed to St. Ita.  She rejoined the head to the body of a man who was beheaded, she raised people from the dead and lived entirely on food sent from heaven.

All of the gifts of St. Ita came as a result of her austere and contemplative life--a life of seeing clearly the Will of God and following it with oneness of purpose. She allowed nothing to change this course and turned to God in prayer and meditation for all her needs. Let us ask St. Ita for the virtue of intransigence in the face of obstacles to our spiritual life.

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