06/20/2022 – Ireland Penal Times

During the reigns of King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and King Charles II there were terrible persecutors of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Many Irish Bishops, priests, religious and lay people accepted martyrdom rather than give up their faith.

“During the Penal times in Ireland, when it was illegal to be Catholic, the faithful clung to their rosaries and refused to cave. On failing to subdue them in the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell wrote to his superiors, “All is not well with Ireland yet. You gave us the money, you gave us the guns. But let me tell you that every house in Ireland is a house of prayer, and when I bring these fanatical Irish before the muzzles of my guns, they hold up in their hands a string of beads, and they never surrender.” It was the power of the Rosary that kept Ireland Catholic in spite of centuries of persecution.” (Meg Hunter-Kilmer)

Today is the feast of seventeen of these martyrs. Running through the story of every Irish martyr is devotion to the Holy Mass, loyalty to the pope and a love of the Holy Rosary. All of them prayed the rosary, If their rosaries was taken from them they made new rosaries with anything they could find but never did they want to be parted from Our Lady’s circlet.

In fact, one of the only relics of the 17 Irish Martyrs that has survived is a rosary which is kept in St Joseph’s Cistercian Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary.