St. Ita of Limerick, Virgin
(Deirdre, Dorothy, Ida, Ide, Meda, Mida, Ytha)
Died c. 570. Saint Ita is the most famous woman saint in Ireland after Saint Brigid (f.d. February 1), and is known as the Brigid of Munster. She is said to have been of royal lineage, born in one of the baronies of Decies near Drum in County Waterford, and called Deirdre.
An aristocrat wished to marry her, but after praying and fasting for three days and with divine help, she convinced her father to allow her to lead the life of a maiden. She migrated to Hy Conaill (Killeedy), in the western part of Limerick, and founded a community of women dedicated to God, which soon attracted many young women. She also founded and directed a school. It is said that Bishop Saint Erc gave into her care Saint Brendan (f.d. May 16), who would become a famous abbot and missionary (though the chronology makes this unlikely). Many other Irish saints were taught by her for years. For this reason, she is often called
foster-mother of the saints of Ireland.
Brendan once asked her what three things God especially loved. She replied,
True faith in God with a pure heart, a simple life with a religious spirit, and open-handedness inspired by charity.
Image; David J Davies. 2017. Icon of St Ita of Killeedy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.orthodoxengland.org.uk/ita.htm. [Accessed 16 January 2017]
Life: Celtic and Old English Saints – 15 January . 2017. Celtic and Old English Saints – 15 January . [ONLINE] Available at: http://celticsaints.org/2017/0115a.html. [Accessed 16 January 2017].