THE MONTH OP MARY. OUR LADY OF TRIM.
(By Piebce Laurence Mary Nolak 8.A., in the Aye Maria.) 'My bounden dutie unto your honerabl* Lordechip premysid. Theise ehal be to advertise you, for that I endevor my eelff and also cauße others of my clergie to preache the Gospell of Cnriste and to set fort be the Kinge's causes, there goeth a common brewte amonges the Yrish men that I intende to ploke downe Jur Ladye of Tryme with other places of pilgramagep, as the Holy Crosse and souch like, which in deade I never attempted, although my conscience wolde right well serve me to oppresse souche ydolles." So runs a dispatch, dated June 20, 1538, from Browne, the first Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, to Henry tbe Eighth's " vicar-general," Thomas Cromwell. " Our Ladye of TrymeJ" was a famous shrine of the Mother of God preserved in. the abbey church of the Canons Begolar at Trim, in Meath. Its story is but a brief chapter from tbe long and wellknown history of tbe devotion of the Irish people to the Blessed Virgin, and of the vandalism of the self-styled Reformers in our land. The interesting town of Trim is situated pleasantly by the Boyne ; in the olden time it was the seat of a bishopric, and possessed one of
those pozzlia to antiquarians, a Greek church ; though the Middle Ages parliaments and important gatherings were held in it. Its extensive remains of King John's castle, its many ruined churches and friaries, still attest its former greatness. Bat perhaps more famous still was it for "its image of Mary " (dealb Muire, as it was called in Irish), that brought to the abbey of the Canons Regular pilgrims from far and wide. I regret not to have been able to find the origin of this devotion, but will give such references as are made to it by onr native annalists and in the State papers, The first reference to it I find in the "Annals of the Four Masters," where we read that "in the age of Christ 1397 Hugh MacMahoa recovered his sight by fasting in honour of the Holy Cross at Bapboe, and of the image of Mary at Ath-Truim." In Irish Our Lady is nearly always spoken of as Mary (Muire) — " Mary " ; •o Bt Patrick and the other saints are called " Patrick," etc. Onr Irish equivalent for "Good morning " is, Dia agus Muire dhv.it " God and Mary be with thee " ; and the frequent response is, Dia affus Muire agus Padraig dhuit,—" God and Mary and Patrick be with thee." It is sad to think that, unless great efforts be made by ns to preserve our tongue, this beautiful gree'in?, with its invocation of Heavens blessing, and its familiar tutoiement for stranger or neighbour, will soon be a thing of the paat. But that must not be. In 1412 again it is recorded that " the image of Onr Lady at Ath Truim wrought many miracles." Later on, in 1444, " a great miracle was wrought by the image of Mary at Trim— namely, it restored sight to a blind man, speech to a dumb man, the use of his feet to a clippie, and stietched out the hand of a person to whose Bide it had been fastened." In 1472 a parliament held at Naas (12 Kdw., IV. granted to the abbot and convent of the bouse of Our Blessed Lady of Trim and their successors two watermills in Trim, with their weirs, fisheries etc. ; trees in the park of Trim, and services of tbe viheins of the manor for the ordinary establishing, repairing, and continuance of a perpetual wax light from day to day and night to night burning / before the image of our Blessed Lady in the pavement pedestal of Oar Lady in the church of tbe said house j and for the support o«
four other wax tapers continually burning before the same at the Mass of the Holy Mary, at the anthem of Our Lady, to the honour of God and our said Lady , for the good estate of our sovereign lord and Cecilia his mother, and of his children, and for the souls of their progenitors and ancestors. Trim was on the ontmost borders of the English Pale ; outside its walls tke native clans held Bway. To kill an Irishman beyond the Pale was no crime in English law. but a special act was passed by Parliament to allow the " rebel " to come and pay his homage without fear of death at Our Lady's shrine at Trim. I have searched in vain for any description of a pilgrimage to it, but we can well imagine bow on Mary's festal days the saffron-gowned clansmen, the armoured Invader, and the burgegses from Dublin and Drogheda thronged through the Sheep-gate or the Water-gate, hurrying to the blissful shrine Then, too, would the Dominican from the Assumption, and the Franciscan from 8t Bonaventure's ; the Canon of St Victor, of Newtown, and the cowled friar, leave their convents to join their brethren at 8t Mary's in hymniog the Virgin's praise. But the evil day was at hand when, as says one of our annalists 11 a heresy and a new error sprang up in England through pride, vain. glory, avarice and lust, and through many strange sciences, so that the men of England went into opposition to the Pops and Borne. . They broke down the monasteries and sold their roofs and bells ; so that from Aran to the Iccian Sea there was not one monastery that was not broken and shattered, with the exception of a few In Irsland, of which the English took no notice or heed. They afterwards burned the images, shrines and relics of the saints of Ireland and Xngland ; they likewise burned the celebrated image of Mary at AthTruim, which was used to perform wonders and miracles, and which used to heal the blind, the deaf, and the crippled, and persons affected with all kinds of diseases." To show what store the Irish annalists set on the Reformation let me, at the risk of being tedious, give another extract from a different source. " The most miraculous image of Mary at Baile Ath-Trulm, which the Irish people all honored for a long time before that, and which nsed to heal tht blind, the deaf, and the lame, and every disease, in like manner was burned by the Baxons. . . . And not only that, but there was not a holy cross nor an image o Mary, nor other celebrated image in Erinn, over which their power reached, that they did not burn ; and the Pope and the Church in ibe Bast and at home were excommunicating the Saxons on that account." In August, 1538, a bishop and a friar were transferred from Dublin Castle to be tried at tba sessions at Trim for " their highe aDd notorious offences against the kinge's Majestic," refusing to own tb« •• much-married " monarch's ecclesiastical supremacy. Thomas Allen, writing to Cromwell about the trial, is shocked at the conduct of some of the " maisters of the law." He says : " Thty thre " (Arcfcbishop Browne, Mr Treasurer, and the Master of the Rolls) « wold not come into the chapell where the idoll of Trym stode, to th' intent they wold not occasion the people ; notwithstanding my Lord Deputie, way devoutly kneeling before Hir, hard thre or fower Masses." The Lord Deputy was Lord Leonard Gray, who, though a bitter persecutor of the Irish, remained attached to the end to the ancient faith. That year or next the image was destroyed, and the many and valuable offerings placed on its altar swelled the unholy coffers of the enemies of our faith and fatherland. The image is not with us to-day, like the many time-honored shrines of Our Lady in the Old World and the New ; but the devotion to Mary is perhaps in no land more living than in ours, from which ctntuues of persecution tried to banish it in vain. A touching instance of this tender love for tb« Blessed Virgin came under my notice this very day. I was passing through Grafton Street, one of the most crowded and fashionable thoroughfares of Dublin, when the Angelut bell of the church of the Barefooted Carmelites bard by rang out ; almoat at once a gang of about twenty Corporation workmen, engaged in repairing the streets, ceased their work, rested on their clubs, and lifted their hats, Borne blessing themselves, to honour, for a moment even, the Mother of the God- Workman.
The late Mr Herman Bickwall, who made a pilgrimage to Mecca disguised at a Mabommedan, many years ago, was a Catholic He wu not in any sense a renegade Christian aa has been stated in rather a warm correspondence which has been going on with regard to him in the Athenaum. Hie 600 writes to that paper this week to My that hit father's great pride in life was as a Catholic, and that only a week ago be met an old dragoman whom Mr Bickwell employed twenty-four years ago, who well remembered that gentleman saying to him, " Ton know Bmart, I have had experience of a good many religions, but the only one that offers any consolations is the Catholic one." Mr Bickwell was attended in his last illnes9 by Father Ohriitie, 8.J.. of Farm-street, and Father White, of Brookgreen, so why his memory shoo Id be aaptrsed by calling him a renegade Christian it is hard to see. His testimony as to the consolations offered by our holy religion is only the experience of all who have foand rest in the home of the saints, after wandering in the highways and by way a of heieiy and schism.