Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Rivalry and a saint

It is a well known fact that Augustus Pugin helped Charles Barry design the Palace of Westminster after the fire damaged it in 1934, but did you know that Barry tried to minimalise Pugin's contribution in the public eye?  The same architect, I mean Pugin, designed many houses and churches not only in Britain, but also in Ireland and even in Australia. The one I remember seeing is St. Aidan's Roman Catholic Cathedral for the diocese of Ferns in an Irish town of Enniscorthy. You may like to read about St Aidan's miracles and tell me what you think of them:
'Many miracles are recorded of his during his sojourn in Wales.[2] He was said to have broken a jug while fetching ale for his fellow monks; making the sign of the cross over the shards, however, it was repaired and he continued on his errand.[8] A yoke given to him by David's steward purposefully too small to fit the necks of his oxen miraculously accommodated them and permitted him to bring the necessary materials for Llandewi Velfrey.[1] Following his return to Ireland, a local begged him for some meal as he was grinding flour and, after receiving some, disguised himself as a blind man to come back and beg for more. Annoyed, the saint cursed him that the generations of his descendants would never lack for a blind member.[1] Another time, wolves devoured a calf at one of his monasteries; its mother being inconsolable, Aedan blessed the head of his cook and told him to offer it to the heifer, which licked him and thenceforth "loved him like a calf".[1] When asked by Saint Fintan Munnu to heal monks suffering under an epidemic, Aedan was said to have indulged him: first by curing the monks and then by permitting the sickness to resume when Saint Fintan changed his mind, considering the sickness to be good for their souls.[1] His hagiographers credited Aidan's curses with Brandubh's defeat of the Uí Néill; they further state that, when Sarán slew his father-in-law, he attempted to accommodate the saint only for Aidan to curse him that his right hand would wither to the stump. When Sarán begged for a penance, Aidan directed him to pray for forgiveness at Brandubh's tomb in Ferns; when Sarán did so, a voice from the crypt forgave him. He lost his hand regardless.'

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