St Laurence O’ Toole of Dublin
Saint of the day November 14
St Laurence was only 10 when he was delivered up as a hostage by his own father to Dermod Mac Murchad, King of Leinster. The King treated him rather inhumanly for two years before putting him in the hands of the Bishop of Glendalough, in the county of Wicklow.
The holy youth, by his fidelity in corresponding with the divine grace, grew to be a model of virtue. On the death of the bishop, who was also abbot of the monastery, Laurence, though not yet 25, was chosen Abbot (in 1150). His diocese was at that time a wealthy one, but the holy prelate reduced himself to poverty in order to bestow all he possessed on the poor. He governed his community with wonderful virtue and prudence and frequently gave himself to spiritual retreats so as to be the more efficient in the reformation of his flock.
In 1161, the saint was unanimously chosen to fill the new Metropolitan See of Dublin. About 1171 he was obliged, for the affairs of his diocese, to go over to England to see King Henry II, who was then at Canterbury. He was received by the Benedictine monks of Christ Church with the greatest honour and respect. The following day, as he approached the altar to officiate at Mass, a maniac, who had heard much of his sanctity, and perhaps led on by the idea of making so holy a man another St Thomas, struck him violently on the head. Obviously, Laurence was mortally wounded; but the holy archbishop, coming to himself, asked for some water and blessed it; then, even as he washed his wounds with it, the flow of blood stopped and he celebrated Mass.
In 1175, Laurence undertook another journey to England to negotiate reconciliation between two monarchs, Henry II of England and Roderic of Ireland. So moved was the English king by his piety, charity and prudence that he granted him everything he asked for and left the entire negotiation process to his discretion.
His earthly journey having ended on 14 November 1180, Laurence was buried in the church of the abbey at Eu, within the confines of Normandy and was canonized by Pope Honorius III in 1225.
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