St.Attracta Patron Saint of our School and Parish
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Transcript of St.Attracta Patron Saint of our School and Parish
St.AttractaPatron Saint of our School and Parish
Saint Attractas family lifeAttractas great grandfather was Coelbadius, who was the King of Ireland a short time before St. Patrick came.St. Attracta was born around the year 420 A.D. in Co. Sligo.Both St. Attracta and her brother were to become Saints. Her brothers name is St. Coeman.St. Attracta was a very thoughtful child but she was also strong and determined. She prayed a lot and gave money to the poor (almsgiving). When she was a teenager she had many suitors but Attracta decided that she wanted to give her life completely to God and not be married.A friend of hers, Mitain, also decided to dedicate her life to God alone.
Attractas lifeAttracta and her friend Mitain decided to leave their homes (so that they wouldnt be forced to marry) and journeyed to meet St. Patrick at Coolavin in Co. Sligo about the year 435.They told St. Patrick of their wish to belong completely to God. They were given instruction by St. Patrick and one day they became consecrated as nuns to the service of God and His Church.
Patron Saints in IrelandBoth Saint Attracta and Saint Brigid (featured on the left) are the special Irish patronesses of nuns and the first foundresses of convents in Ireland. Both Saints were blessed by St. Patrick. At the age of 16, Attracta joined St. Patricks workers and soon she became the Abbess of a convent which she founded beside Lough Gara. It is said that St. Patrick left her his chalice.
Gift of hospitalitySt. Attracta had a special concern and care for those who travelled long journeys. She wanted to found a place where travellers from all over could find warm hospitality. In those days there were no paved roads and travelling was difficult and dangerous. Her servant Mochain found a place where seven roads meet and showed it to Attracta. She was delighted because she knew that many travellers would pass that way and could find shelter and company at her new house. She established a Bruigheen or house of hospitality on the site, now called Killaraght.
A Church dedicated to St. Attracta at Killaraght
After her death this house of hospitality continued to serve poor travellers right down to the Reformation when, in 1539, the Irish monasteries were confiscated under Henry VIII. Later the house was given to Sir John King and his descendant, Lord Kingston, in 1692. We know that the hostel (which was also a hospital) was used for hospitality for over 1000 years. Attracta was loved and respected by those living in the area. They admired her great virtue and they often asked her advice before making any important decisions. She was often called upon to help settle land disputes. Decisions would not be handed down until they had been approved by St. Attracta.
Miracles associated with AttractaIn the parish of Kilmacteige (Co. Sligo), close to St. Attractas well (see picture below), there is a glen, called Lug na Paiste or the Hollow of the Beast. There was a vicious beast that roamed the area and had been terrorising the neighbourhood. Bec, the Chief of the area, asked Attracta to come and visit him. He told her of his difficulties and asked her to implore God so that he would be rid of the beast. Furthermore, he promised that she could keep the land that the beast roamed when she had slain it. (continued on next slide)
Miracles of St. Attracta continuedAttracta replied He who created the world out of nothing and who formed man in his image from the earth, can instantly effect your deliverance. She walked towards the wall beyond which lay the beast. She knelt down and prayed deeply and earnestly that God would show his glory in granting the Chiefs desires. The beast roared like a lion and stood upright. He started to charge towards Attracta. Attracta, having made the sign of the cross, extended her rod towards him. The beast seized it with open jaws and immediately dropped lifeless to the ground.
Miracles of St. Attracta continuedAnother time the people of Lugna were surrounded on three sides by the armies of Connacht. The shore of Lough Gara lay to the other side.The chief of Lugna told Attracta of his plight. She told the army of Lugna Be not afraid, trust only in the God who is the creator of all things and who is able to deliver you from every danger His servant am I. Follow me and let none of you look back but advance after me in a forward direction.She prayed to God, that just as the Israelites travelled across the Red Sea with Moses, so would the people of Lugna travel across Lough Gara to safety. Suddenly, the waters divided and a passage was made to the opposite shore. Thus the people of Lugna were saved.
St. Attracta in recent timesDevotion to St. Attracta continued among the people of Achonry and in 1864 Pope Pius IX reintroduced the special Mass to St. Attracta on her feast day, which is celebrated on 11th August.
The Pope also instructed that a church should be dedicated to St. Attracta. The church at Tourlestrane, now parish church of Kilmacteige, was dedicated to St. Attracta shortly afterwards.
St. Attractas wellIn the parts of the country in which St. Attracta carried out her ministries there survive many strong traditions.There are at least seven wells named after St. Attracta (Tobar Athracht) and they are visited regularly, especially on 11th August. The carving below, to the left, is featured at St. Attractas Well.At Glenavoo, in the parish of Tourlestrane, there is still a substantial pilgrimage to her well on the Sunday nearest her feast. This is a great social occasion. It is also, of course, a time for prayer and Mass is said on a simple altar decorated by the people. Private devotions at The Well take place throughout the summer months, centred around the Rosary.
St. Attractas Well
Honouring St. Attractas nameOur school in Meadowbrook was dedicated to St. Attracta in 1977 and our oratory was dedicated to her in 1981.
The name Attracta has long been used as a Christian name for girls in the Achonry area of Co. Sligo. It was popular in Dublin in the 1930s and 40s and one of the new roads in Cabra was named after her.
St. NathyThe name of Saint Attracta is often associated with that of Saint Nathy (featured to the left on the stained-glass window). They are both patrons of Achonry. Many churches and chapels in the diocese are dedicated to each of these saints.St. Nathy is also associated with the area. He was a student at Tallaght and established a cell in Dundrum. This house was called Teach nDaithi which evolved to Teaa Nay and eventually the name of the parish became known as Taney. His feast day is on the 9th August.
The legacy of St. AttractaSt. Attracta was a kind, giving but firm woman. To the poor and homeless she was a compassionate mother figure to whom they could go for help.She was much respected as a wise advisor by those who were in positions of power and authority.Her prayers are sought today for the sick and poor and in times of conflict when practical wisdom is needed.When we are praying let us include prayers to St. Attracta for ourselves, our families, our parish and our school.
St. Attracta, pray for us
A Naomh Athracht, guigh orainn