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Leinster Leader, April 5th 1988

Great Abbot Was Great Irishman

No Irish of our time has exerted greater influence in their world than the late Dom Marmion, the centenary of whose birth occurs this month, and whose cause for Beatification has been introduced in Rome.
    Joseph Marmion (in religion Dom Columba) was born in Dublin in 1858 and ordained in Rome at the age of 22 for the Dublin Diocese.
   His father’s people came from Enfield, Co.Meath, and his grandmother’s home from Clane; they were O’Rourke’s and lived in the present Garda Barracks at Clane.
   Marmion married in there, and some of the family are still well remembered in Clane. There is a field at the back of the barracks still known as Marmion’s field.
   The name Marmion is not uncommon in Meath and often goes as Merriman.
      On returning to Ireland after ordination Fr. Marmion was curate at Dundrum, Co. Dublin, and subsequently became Professor in his old Seminary Holy Cross College, Cloniffe.

Joined Benedictines

In 1886 he decided to enter the Monastic life and got permission from Archbishop McCabe to enter the Benedictine Monastery of Maredsous, Belgium. Here he received the name, Brother Columba.
   For thirty-five years as Benedictine he led a life of exemplary obedience, and though he rose to fame as a theologian, writer, preacher and confessor, he remained to the end a humble, quiet, unassuming, gentle soul.
  In 1909 he was elected Abbot of Maredsous and it is mainly through the weekly conferences which he gave to his monks during the fourteen years of his abbacy that his teaching and spirit have been preserved for us.
   He died in 1923. It was as a tribute to his memory, and to fulfil a long-desired but unrealised ambition that the Benedictine Monks returned to Ireland in 1927.
   Their foundation at Glenstal, was placed under the special projection of Abbot Marmion and SS Joseph and Columba were chosen as its patrons.
During The Terror

Like all genuine exiles, Dom Marmion’s heart never got away from the home country-he suffered as a loyal sun whenever he did. Though out of the country for many years he was deeply grieved at the tragic reprisals of 1916.
  He prayed unfailingly for the Motherland and having gathered his community around him in July, 1921, when Ireland was racked with the Black and Tan terror, he offered solemn Pontifical Mass for his suffering country-men at home.
  It was later learned that as that Mass ended the Truce was signed-it was the afternoon of July 11 1921.
  The civil war broke his heart; he died early in 1923.
    He wrote four books, telling in his simple way what Christ has done for us that He had saved us. These have been hailed by the whole Catholic world as masterpieces of doctrine and devotion. His secret was that everything h wrote he had first lived himself. He is still bringing thousands closer to Christ. Most noteworthy  among the converts on reading his books are some who were avowed Communists, who have declared that until they read him they had not dreamed of the riches of Christianity.

Holy Father’s Hope

Of him the Holy Father has just written “We cherish the ardent hope that the celebration of the Marmion centenary may be instrumental in making the writings of this noteworthy author better known and more widely read; and we fervently pray that through meditation on his teachings, clergy religious and laity-made more vividly aware of their participation in the Sonship of Christ.may receive all the graces they need in order to attain even greater spiritual perfection."


An article from the Leinster Leader of 5 April 1988 on a great Irishman, Dom Columba, who had family connections in Clane

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