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Saint Ita

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Saint Ita
Born c. 475, County Waterford, Ireland
Died January 15, 570
Venerated in Catholic Church, Orthodox Church
Feast January 15
Patronage Roman Catholic Diocese of Limerick, Ireland

Saint Ita, also known as Saint Ida or Saint Ides, (c. 475 – January 15, 570), was an Irish nun.

Ida, called the "Brigid of Munster", was born in the present County Waterford.[1] She became a nun, settling down at Cluain Credhail, a place-name that has ever since been known as Killeedy--that is, "Church of St. Ita"--in County Limerick. There, she was the head of a community of women. That group seems to have had a school for little boys where the boys were taught "Faith in God with purity of heart; simplicity of life with religion; generosity with love".[2] Her pupils are said to have included Saint Brendan. Her legend places a great deal of emphasis on her austerities are told by St. Cuimin of County Down, and numerous miracles are recorded of her. She is also said to be the originator of an Irish lullaby for the infant Jesus, an English version of which was set for voice and piano by the American composer Samuel Barber. She probably died of cancer though contemporary chroniclers describe how her side was consumed by a beetle which eventually grew to the size of a pig, understandable given the early medieval conflation of sanctity and suffering. The particular species of beetle is not described.

She was also endowed with the gift of prophecy and was held in great veneration by a large number of contemporary saints, men as well as women. When she felt her end approaching she sent for her community of nuns, and invoked the blessing of heaven on the clergy and laity of the district around Kileedy. Not alone was St. Ita a saint, but she was the foster-mother of many saints, including St. Brendan the Navigator, St. Pulcherius (Mochoemog) and Cummian. At the request of Bishop Butler of Limerick, Pope Pius IX granted a special Office and Mass for the feast of St. Ita, which is kept on January 15.

St. Ita's AFC is the name of the association football club which is based in Killeedy. The saint appears on the club's crest.

Another village in County Limerick, Kilmeedy (In Irish - Cill m'Ide, or church of my Ita) has links with the saint as well - having first setup a church in Kilmeedy before the one in Killeedy.

See also

References

  1. "St. Ita". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08201c.htm. 
  2. Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-140-51312-4.

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