Today, 24 Jul 2012, is the feast day of St Declan of Ardmore (a.k.a. Deaglan), a fifth century Bishop of Ireland. Some years ago one of the boys in my Confirmation class chose the name of Declan. Naturally this meant that I needed to learn something about this Saint. I’ve been grateful ever since for gift of being introduced to St Declan of Ardmore and for being inspired by the signs and wonders God worked through him.
St Declan was born to a noble Irish family. As soon as St Colman had evangelized his parents, Declan was baptized and St Colman said that Declan was destined to be holy and to convert his nation to Jesus. Declan was sent to study with Dioma, a wise and holy man. Later on, Declan went to Rome to further his knowledge and to seek ordination. In time he was ordained a Bishop and sent to preach the Gospel in Ireland.
Declan returned to the Decies of Munster where he preached, and baptized many and built churches. He followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Many people came to Declan to learn how to live holy lives. A plague came to Munster, and 7 noble hostages died of it. The king worried that their deaths might provoke a war, so he asked Declan in the name of Jesus to raise them to life again. Declan went and prayed and sprinkled holy water on the bodies while invoking the power of God, and they returned to life.
The people of Cashel then asked Declan to bless their city and banish the plague, so Declan prayed and made the sign of the cross to the North, South, East and West and all of those who were ill were cured. He went to Bregia and began a monastery there, giving it a copy of the Gospel that he always carried with him.
A wealthy man who mocked religion once asked Declan to be his guest. To trick him and have a laugh at Declan’s expense, the pagan host arranged for a dog to be slaughtered and to be cooked in such a way that it looked like mutton. God revealed to Declan the trickery, and as a result none ate the questionable food. Following this the wealthy man and his household were all baptized.
A childless couple asked Declan to pray that they might have children, and God granted them twin sons. Many other miracles were worked by God through Declan. When it came time for Declan to pass from this life to the next, he returned to Ardmore, the place that God had already revealed to him, and he blessed all those who gathered about him before he died. St Declan ministered in Ireland around the same time that St Patrick did, in the fifth century AD.
To read the full account of St Declan’s life, go to http://www.ccel.org/d/declan/life/declan.html and scroll through the introduction until you get to the main text.
St Declan of Ardmore, pray for us.
Novena to St Declan of Ardmore
Eternal Father, I thank You for all of the wonders You worked in the life of St Declan, and for the gifts of holiness with which you filled his soul. Through his faith and trust and dedication to You, many souls entered into the Kingdom of God. You showed to all how pleasing his life was to You by great miracles. I ask that St Declan would pray for me before the throne of the Most Holy Trinity, that he may obtain for me the gifts which I need in order to follow Jesus faithfully with all my heart. Through his prayers, help me to study the holy scriptures, and to fully understand the teachings of the Church. Amen.
St Declan please pray that I too may grow in great trust and faith in God, so that His Will may be done in my life, and that I may serve Him as He deserves to be served. With much love you travelled from place to place to bring God’s Gospel message to your people, help me to love God as ardently as you loved Him. I entrust to you the special prayer request of my heart……………., knowing that you never refused to pray when asked, even if their case looked hopeless. St Declan, pray for us.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. (3 times)