Need A New Friend?
Today, her old convent is marked only by broken walls and rocks worn smooth by wind and rain of centuries. Her memory remains a soft and silent force in the religious fervor of a country that has mostly faded in her private devotions and pious thoughts. But still we can celebrate the Feast Day of St. Ita today on this 15th of January. Who is St. Ita? She was baptized Deidre and born in 475 A.D. near the present city of Waterford, Ireland. From early on, Deidre was said to embody the six virtues of Irish womanhood — wisdom, purity, beauty, music, sweet speech and embroidery (I didn't make that up). She was described as “sweet and winning in her address, prudent in word and work and constant in mind and firm of purpose.” At first her parents were against wanting Deidre to serve God in religious life. Undaunted, she fasted and prayed for three days and three nights, which led her father to let Deidre receive the monastic habit of a nun and take the name of Ita. The name Ita is said to come from the Irish word iota, meaning thirst for holiness. She started a center of learning and spiritual formation, drawing men and women and children to learn of Christ and their Gaelic traditions. One of the most famous of her pupils is said to be St. Brendan, the Navigator. Among many others, the great St. Columban came to Ita for counsel and guidance in the problems of his apostolate, and she befriended St. Patrick, as well. St. Brendan asked St. Ita the three things which she thought God loved most. She said: "True faith in God with a pure heart, a simple life with a grateful spirit, and openhandedness to the poor inspired by charity." The three things that most displease God are: "a mouth that hates people, a heart harboring resentments and confidence in wealth." Hers was a life based on penance, asceticism, vigils, fast and prayer. She was said to have special devotion to the infant Jesus and to have sung the Irish lullaby, Losagan, to mark that special love. She is known as the foster mother of the saints of Erin/Ireland.)
Why do I offer such a saintly friend? Because she reminds us of the sacrificial beauty of those who are called to become foster and adoptive parents (and teachers of the faith to children not their own). Pray for them that they may have perseverance and joy, and many may have hearts open to such a way of love. Don't forget about praying for those supporting our parish Feast Day Dinner/Silent Auction and Catholics Returning Home who gather on Thursdays (7:15p).
Pax, Fr. Bline
(P.S. Happy 101 Birthday Chick Bittner)