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the Cistercian Order, and having made his noviciate at Kilkenny under Luke Archer, was professed at Holycross on the 16th November, 1620. He succeeded John O'Dea in 1628 as pastor of Holycross, and died in August, 1631.
The Abbot Archer, having thus satisfactorily set at rest the question of spiritual jurisdiction, next directed his attention to the temporalities of the Abbey, which had been already alienated for nearly a century. As he hoped, they were destined, before long, to be restored to their original purposes, he resolved to leave on record the source whence they were derived. With this view he summoned witnesses and took depositions, a few of which, however, only have been preserved.
"I, Owen Ryan, of Beakstown, fermour, aged of five scoare years or thereabouts, do depose uppon my salvation the tiethes of the Baronny of Ballycormack to belong to the Abbey and house of Hollie Crosse; My reason of knowing is that I have seene the Abbot of the said Abbey, Phelip Purcell, gathering said teithes, his procurators being then James Roe O'Thrihey and James More, in Clarvine. And that by the licence of the Barron of Loghmoe, the said Abbot builded a barn upon the lands of Beakstowne, to gather his said tiethes. Written in the yeere of our Lord, 1623, and in the 12th day of August. Being present when the aforesaid deposition was taken by above named Owen Rian.
"Fr. Luke Archer, Abbot of Holy Cross.
"Witnesses produced and examined concerning the church of Templebegge, and the parish thereof.
"First-John MacWilliam, of Thadge, of four scoare yeeres or thereabout, beinge dulie examined and by vertue of his oath, swear that the Church of Templebegge was, during his remembrance, governed by the Lo: Abbot of Holie Crosse, from time to time without any disturbance of the Lo: Archbishop of Cashell, or any in his name, and for proffe thereoff sayeth that Lughe MacDonoughe had thereoff the profitt for the term of five yeeres for the Lo: Abbot that was then : and was bounde to pay som butter and egges unto the Lo: Abbot. And further, the said John sayeth that the third part of the altar and profitt of the churche of Templewoutragh (Upperchurch), doth follow the Abbey of Holly Crosse, and the other two parts the Lord of Cashell from time to time doth holde. Mealleaghlin MacWilliam, of Thadge, of seventie
yeeres or thereabouts, agreed with the former matter and substance, and their knowledge is that they both were borne and brought up in the aforesaid parishes.
"Written in the yeer of our Lord, 1623, and in the 12th day of August." The same witnesses.
The Abbey of Holycross did not, however, exclusively engage the solicitude of its Abbot. At this period the diocese of Ossory was reduced to a deplorable state of religious destitution-its bishop was in exile-its vicar-general dead, and there was not a priest in any of the rural parishes within twenty miles of the see. Dr. Richard Fitzgerald, who then administered the diocese, in quality of vicar apostolic, induced Dr. Archer to accept the vacant office of vicargeneral. To secure a supply of priests for the diocese, and of religious for the different houses of his province, he established at Kilkenny a noviciate of his order, to which was attached a seminary for the education of secular ecclesiastics. These institutions prospered, and he had the happiness, during an administration of eleven years, to appoint a pastor to every vacant church and to see religion flourish in every parish of that diocese.
Dr. Rothe, the Bishop, took possession of his see in 1637. From that time Abbot Archer removed the noviciate of his order to Holycross, where he permanently resided to his death, 19th December, 1644. He was buried in the Abbey with great solemnity, in presence of a vast concourse of people, in the monument of the Abbots.
On the 15th July, 1636, the year prior to the removal of the Cistercian noviciate from Kilkenny to Holycross, Thomas Bernard O'Leary, a monk of that house, and subsequently Abbot of St. Mary's, Kilcooley, died at the noviciate of the order, and was buried in his Abbey de Arvi Campo, or Kilcooley, with great solemnity.
About the same time died a munificent benefactor of the Abbey, the Lady Margaret O'Brien, daughter of Connor, Earl of Thomond, and wife of James Butler, Second Lord Dunboyne. By her will, dated 11th February, 1636, she bequeaths to "the Bernardians" of Holycross " £i. X ster., and the same to every one of the orders of the Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans, at Cashell, Fethard, and Clonmell and for the same to enjoyne them severally to such devotion as they shall think fit in their discretions: and £i. XX ster. to be divided between the clergie that shall be present at my buryall, and £i. X sterl. to my old priest John Fitz Derby." She moreover leaves "£100 to Mr. Dr. Morrish Roche to the equal use of John O'Dea."
This bequest appears to have been virtually given to the Abbeys of Holycross and Corcumroe, as John O'Dea was a monk of the former house, and subsequently Abbot of the latter, both of which were foundations of one of her royal ancestors, Donald, King of Thomond.
The inscription on the mural slab inserted in the parapet of the bridge over the Suir at Holycross, records that this lady and her husband repaired, at their joint expense, that bridge which was then in a ruinous condition. The inscription is as follows:
"Jacobus Butler, Baro de Dunboyne et Margareta
Dic precor ante obitum verbo non amplius uno,
This inscription, as mentioned in it, is surmounted by two escutcheons, bearing respectively the arms of Dunboyne and of the Earls of Thomond.
(To be continued).
PATRON OF LIMERICK CITY AND DIOCEse.
INTRODUCTION.-INQUIRY CONCERNING THE IDENTIFICATION OF ST. MUNCHIN. CALLED THE SON OF SEDNA.-SAID TO HAVE BUILT A CHURCH IN FIDH-INIS-ST. PATRICK'S FIRST VISIT TO LIMERICK.-DIVERS SAINTS BEARING THE NAME OF MUNCHIN, OR MANCHEN.
O man is perfect who desires not greater perfection; and in this especially does a man prove himself a proficient in the knowledge of God, when he ever tends to the highest degree of perfection. The holy bishops of our Irish Church studied well the course to be pursued for the exercise of their pastoral charge. In charity and humility they excelled, and, therefore, it does not appear strange that so many, with a great fervor of affection, aspired to an intimate union with the true pastor of souls. Adorned with all the graces of solid virtue, the great guilt of sin had no abiding place in souls devotedly attached to the duties of their sacred profession.
Not only are conflicting opinions held regarding St. Munchin's identity with various holy men similarly named, but great doubts prevail with respect to the exact period when he lived. The best authorities on Irish ecclesiastical history seem to agree pretty generally, in calling the patron saint of Limerick the son of Sedna. From what we can learn, this parentage connects him apparently by birth, or at least by extraction, with the district in which Luiminech, so called by the old chroniclers, was situated.
Some writers believe St. Munchin of Limerick may be identical with a Mancenus, who is reputed to have been a very religious man, and a master well versed in a knowledge of the Holy Scripture.2 When Christianity had been first introduced by St. Patrick among the subjects of Amalgaid, King of Connaught, about A.D. 434, this Mancenus was placed as bishop over the people in that part of the country. Yet it does not seem probable, that such an efficient and a distinguished pastor had been called away from his own field of missionary labor to assume the charge of a See established at Limerick, long subsequent to the date of his appointment.
St. Munchin, called the son of Sedna, was grandson to Cas,* and great-grandson to Conell of the Dalgais.5 He was nephew to Bloid, king of Thomond. Nothing more have we been able to collect regarding his education, pursuits, and preparation for his call to Holy Orders. Neither documentary fragments nor popular tradition aid our endeavours to clear up his personal history. It has been asserted, that St. Munchin, bishop of Limerick, built a church in the island of Fidh-Inis, which lies within the large estuary where the river Fergus enters the river Shannon. Here he is said to have lived for a long time; and it is thought possible, a St. Brigid, who was his kinswoman,7 may have lived there after he left it.
1 Mentioned by Jocelyn, “Sexta Vita S. Patricii,” cap. lix., p. 78. 2 See Colgan's "Trias Thaumaturga. Septima Vita S. Patricii." cap. p. lxxxvii., p. 141.
See Ussher's Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates." Index Chronologicus. p. 517.
He is called Cassius Tail, the Dalcassian, by Colgan, in "Acta Sanctorum Hiberniæ," n. 24, p. 540. Oliol Olum, King of Munster, A.D. 125, is said to have divided his principality between his two sons. North Munster, including Limerick, fell to the lot of Cormack Cas, the younger. See Gough's Camden's "Britannia," vol. iii., p. 516.
5 This is borne out by the Genealogies of the Irish Saints. He is also associated with Limerick. See Colgan s "Acta Sanctorum Hiberniæ," xiv. Februarii. "Vita S. Mancheni," n. 4, p. 332.
6 Same notices of her occur in our Calendars at the 30th of September, presumedly the day of her feast.
7 Her descent is traced through the same Dalcassian line.
8 See Colgan's "Acta Sanctorum Hiberniæ," viii, Martii, "Vita S. Senani," n. 24, p. 240, recte 236.
By the erudite local and modern historian1 of Limerick, we are informed, that St. Patrick crossed the Shannon, near this city, and at a place called Sois Angel, now Singland. Not long ago there was a tower at this place. The holy well, with the stoney bed and altar of the Irish Apostle, may yet be seen there.2 He is said to have had a vision of angels at this spot, and to have preached. Then we are told, that St. Manchin, a religious man, who had a complete knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures, was appointed by St. Patrick first bishop over Limerick. He also ruled spiritually, it is said, over the subjects of Amailgaid, King of Connaught. This prince, at the time, had been a recent convert to Christianity.3 Notwithstanding what has been so frequently asserted in reference to this matter, if, as appears probable enough, St. Patrick founded the See of Limerick, as also the Abbey of Mungret, and if he appointed a bishop over the former, most likely he would have selected a Dalcassian to hold the office, especially were one to be found capable and worthy to assume this responsible charge. So conflicting are the statements, however, and so unsatisfactory the evidence yet brought to light, that on such a subject it would be useless to hazard a conjecture, and it seems still more difficult to form even an opinion.
St. Manchinus, the disciple of St. Patrick, and who, from his proficiency in sacred erudition, has been surnamed "The Master," is said to have flourished about the year 460. He is, therefore, to be clearly distinguished from St. Manchin of Dysert Gallen, from St. Manchin of Mena Droichit, from St. Manchin of Mohill, from St. Manchin of Leth, as also from other holy men bearing this name, since all these latter are known to have lived at a much later period. There was another St. Manchin, who was a disciple of St. Deelan,5 of Ardmore, and who was only a boy at the time St. Patrick is supposed to have been at Limerick. It seems not unlikely, he may have been consecrated for the work of the ministry, and he might have been the first to preside over that church.
It is barely possible, but hardly probable, that Mainchin, or Munchin, of Limerick, can be identified with the learned Mainchin who presided over the monastery of Rosnat in
1 Maurice Lenihan, Esq., M. R.I.A.
See likewise Ferrar's "History of Limerick," Part I., chap. i., p. 4.
3" We thus catch a glimpse," adds the historian, "through the dimness and obscurity of distant time, of the halo that encircled the name and character of Limerick." Lenihan's "History of Limerick," chap. i., p. 4.
"Vita S. Man
• See Colgan's Acta Sanctorum Hiberniæ," xiv. Februarii. cheni." n. 6, p. 333..
He is mentioned in "Vita S. Declani," cap. xix.
6 Ibid., n. 3, P. 332.