Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, March 15, 2020


Today is the Ides of March, the day when Julius Caesar was murdered.  Ides is not another name for the fifteenth of the month but it does fall on the fifteenth of March, May, July, and October in the Roman calendar.  In all other months Ides fall on the thirteenth.

In the Sixth century, Ides was one of the names given to and Irish nun and the patron saint of Killeedy.  Ite ingen Chinn Fhalad, also known as Ita, Ida, or (of course) Ides, is considered the "foster mother of the saints of Ireland." having fostered Saint Brendan, St. Pulcherius, and the Irish bishop Cummien.  The name Ita means "thirst for holiness."  One Irish legend has Ides' mother being the sister of St. Brigid's mother; the legend probably stems from Ides being called the "Brigid of Munster."

Ides was said to embody the six virtues of Irish womanhood -- wisdom, purity, beauty, musical ability, gentle speech, and skill at needlework.  At age sixteen she moved to what is now known as Killeedy ("the church of St. Ida") and founded a small community of nuns.  Legend has it that she was led to Killeedy by three heavenly lights.  At Killeedy she had a religious school for young boys, a number of them (like Brendan) she fostered.  She supposedly told Brendan the three things God most detested were a scowling face, obstinacy in wrongdoing, and too great a confidence in the power of money.  (I wonder what she would have thought about Donald Trump.)

She had the gift of prophecy and had a talent for bringing people to holiness.  A number of  miracles have been attributed to her. The Irish Church at that time was far ahead of the curve in recognizing the spiritual talents of women.  Ides was also rumored to be the abbess of a double monastery of men and women.

Her monastery was eventually destroyed by raiding Vikings in the Ninth century.  It's site is still a place of pilgrimage.

St. Ida's feast day is January 15, which -- as we all know -- is not the Ides of January.

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