The Shipwrecked Saint
Saint Cathaldus of Shanrahan and Taranto
Shanrahan Cemetery: Site of Cataldo’s monastery
Following the arrival of St. Patrick, Holy men established small monasteries throughout Ireland. It is not surprising then, to learn that in the seventh century a Holy man named Cathal, having studied at the University of Lismore, made his way through the pass in the ancient SlieveCua mountains and arrived at Rathan where he established his monastic settlement. He was appointed Bishop of the area even though it must be remembered that in those early years of the Christian Church this did not mean that he was in charge of a diocese
After some years at Shanrahan, Cathal set out on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On his return journey he was shipwrecked off the coast of Southern Italy. There he realized that the people of the area had reverted to paganism he resolved to stay amongst them in an effort to reconvert them to Christianity.
Within a few years the people of Taranto in Southern Italy had selected Saint Cataldo (in Latin, Cathaldus or Cataldus) as their Bishop. Today the popularity of Saint Cathaldus in Southern Italy is equal to, if not greater than, the popularity of St. Patrick in Ireland. Over one hundred and fifty churches are dedicated to him in that country and the Cathedral-Basilica in Taranto proudly bears his name. He is the Saint Protector of Corato (Bari), of Gangi (Palermo) and of many other places. A town in Sicily is called San Cataldo.
In 1071, during the reconstruction of the Basilica in Taranto, the tomb of Cathaldus was discovered and opened. With his body was found a gold cross bearing his name and the word Rathcau.
In 1963, Fr. Frank Mackin, a Jesuit priest from Boston, came to Clogheen to research his family history. Following that visit, he went to Taranto to research the life of the Irish Saint. He was amazed that there was neither a statue nor a stained glass window commemorating the Irish Saint in the Clogheen Church even though it was obvious from the writings of the Historian Fr. Everard – Clogheen’s Parish priest in the early years of the twentieth century – and from local tradition, that Clogheen people were aware of the historic link between Taranto and Shanrahan. He resolved to do something about it. In 1986 the Mackin family of America, Ireland and Australia installed a beautiful Stained Glass window in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, on Clogheen’s Main Street. The window, on the west wall of the church, depicts the life of St. Cathaldus in Shanrahan, his journey to the Holy Land and his being shipwrecked off the coast of Southern Italy.
In 1996, an important delegation from Taranto in Italy, accompanied by Signor Enzo Farinella from the Italian Embassy in Dublin representing the Italian Ambassador, came to Clogheen to re-establish the historic link between Shanrahan and Taranto. The delegation was formed by Mons. Dr. Nicola Di Comite, Vicar General and Archdeacon of the Metropolitan Chapter of Taranto; Mons Marco Morone, Parish Priest of the Basilica-Cathedral ‘San Cataldo’ and Don Cosimo Quaranta, secretary of theMetropolitan Chapter.
During concelebrated mass on Sunday September 22,1996 Monsignor Michael Olden gave the homily on the subject of Saint Cathaldus. Then Mons Nicola Di Comite addressed the people of Clogheen and presented his Lordship most Rev. Dr. William lee, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore with a gold replica of the Cross of St. Cathaldus.
At the time of writing, it is planned that a plaque be erected at Shanrahan to commemorate the visit of the Italian delegation and the link between Shanrahan in Clogheen and Taranto in Southern Italy.
In the Irish office of this great Saint (Gill and Son, Dublin) Die viii, Martii, p. 18, we read:
“Cathaldus in loco hodie Shanrahan nuncapato sedam suam episcpales constituit”.
(Cathaldus, in a place nowadays called Shanrahan, established his Episcopal See).
above is taken from: http://iol.ie/%7Eclogheen/clogheen/clogpage/cataldo1.html
Luisa and St. Cataldo
February 21, 1904
The promise of Luisa if she is allowed to die.
In the presence of the Most Holy Trinity, of the Queen Mother, Mary Most Holy, of my guardian Angel and of the whole Celestial Court, and in order to obey my confessor, I promise that if the Lord, by His infinite mercy, should give me the grace of letting me die, when I find myself together with my Celestial Spouse, I will pray and plead for the triumph of the Church and the confusion and conversion of Her enemies; that the Catholic party may triumph in our country, and that the church of St. Cataldo may be reopened for service; that my confessor be freed of his usual sufferings, with a holy freedom of spirit and the sanctity of a true apostle of Our Lord; and that – always if the Lord permits it – I will go to him, at least once a month, to confer about celestial things and things pertaining to the good of his soul. I promise all this, for my part, and I swear.
February 12, 1904
Luisa speaks with some priests about the church of St. Cataldo.
I had forgotten to say what I am about to write, which I will say now out of obedience, although these are not sure things, but uncertain, because the presence of Our Lord was missing.
I was outside of myself, and I seemed to find myself inside a church in which there were several venerable priests, and also souls from Purgatory and holy people, conversing among themselves about the church of St. Cataldo, saying that almost with certainty it would be obtained. On hearing this, I said: ‘How can this be? The other day it was rumored that the Chapter had lost the cause. So, through the tribunal it could not be obtained, the town council does not want to give it, and you are saying that it will be obtained?’ And they added: “In spite of all these difficulties, indeed it is not lost; and even if they reach the point of laying hands on it to knock it down, it still cannot be considered as lost, because St. Cataldo will know well how to defend his temple. However, poor Corato if they arrive at this!” But while saying this, they repeated: “They have taken away the first things; the Crowned Lady has already been transported to his house. You, go before Our Lady and pray to Her that, having started the grace, She would fulfill it.” I went out of that church to go pray, but as I was doing this, I found myself inside myself.