Saturday 3 February 2018

Father Knowles on the Writing of Saint Brigid

We begin the exploration of Father Joseph Knowles' 1907 work on Saint Brigid with a look at the author's preface in which he explains his reasons for writing the book. His purpose is twofold - first to satisfy a public demand for such works and secondly to commemorate the centenary of the founding of the Order of Saint Brigid. What I found particularly interesting is the author's attribution of the perceived public demand to 'the untiring zeal and efforts of the Gaelic League and other kindred organizations'. Fr Knowles thus quite self-consciously places his endeavours squarely within the national revival movement, which he credits with having created 'this sound and desirable condition of our literary tastes.' Finally, he hopes that a greater knowledge of our national patroness will lead to a greater devotion to her 'whom a nation's voice has proclaimed "the Mary of the Gael."'


 IN this volume the Author has endeavoured to place before his readers a concise and popular narration of the life and labours of St. Brigid, the Patroness of Ireland. The facts and legends, which abound in its pages, he has carefully selected from the most reliable and authentic sources. The present time seems to him opportune and propitious for the publication of the class of literature to which this volume claims to belong. There exists amongst the Irish reading public a marked preference for books that deal with the religious or national history of our country. This sound and desirable condition of our literary tastes is mainly attributable to the untiring zeal and efforts of the Gaelic League and other kindred organizations. 

 The joyous occasion which has called forth this volume may not be passed over in silence. This year the Order of St. Brigid celebrates the centenary of its foundation. To mark with greater emphasis the glorious event the Brigidine Nuns decided to publish a life of their special Patroness. They were pleased to ask the assistance of the Author in carrying out their pious and laudable design. Conscious of many obligations of gratitude to the spiritual daughters of St. Brigid, he could not do otherwise than interpret their wish as a command. Hence the appearance of his name on the title page of this volume. 

 The Author takes this opportunity of returning his sincere and respectful thanks to the illustrious Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin for his gracious letter of approval, which forms an appropriate and valuable introduction to this volume. May these pages, the Author fervently prays, tend to deepen the knowledge of the exalted sanctity of St. Brigid amongst her children, and strengthen their faith in the powerful advocacy of her whom a nation's voice has proclaimed "the Mary of the Gael."

Rev. J.A. Knowles, O.S.A., Saint Brigid, Patroness of Ireland, (Dublin, 1907), ix-xi. 

Content Copyright © Trias Thaumaturga 2012-2018. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment