Sunday, 23 November 2014

St. Ronàn the Silent

"Icon -- St. Ronàn the Silent", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Today I am featuring an icon that I have been working on for some time now -- actually, ever since I learned that Ronàn might be chosen for one of the names of Braden's new brother.  I decided that I wanted to feature this work today because I have learned over the past few days that dear, little Ronàn is in need of our prayers.  I am not going to try to explain the situation to you at this time, but am simply asking that you please pray for Ronàn's health and well-being and the well-being of his family. 

Now, let me tell you what I have discovered about St. Ronàn of Locronàn or, as I prefer, St. Ronàn the Silent.

While doing my research, I discovered that there were at least twelve Irish/Celtic saints called Ronàn -- a list which includes the following: 
• Saint Ronàn of Ulster who died 11th January 535. 
• Saint Ronàn, first Abbot of Drumshallon in Ireland. He died 8th November 665. 
• Saint Ronàn of Iveagh in Scotland. Feast day is the 22nd May. 
• Saint Ronàn of Lismore. His feast is celebrated on 9 February. 
• Saint Ronàn of Iona. August 18th is the day designated on which to honour him; and finally...
• Saint Ronàn the Silent. He preached throughout Devon/ Cornwall and Brittany. He is venerated particularly in the village of Locronàn in Brittany, which is named after him, and which has his relics. Although not on the official calendar of Saints, St. Ronàn of Locronàn has been venerated on June 1st for centuries.  

Ronán is a Irish-language, masculine, given name meaning "little seal" (Rón meaning "seal", and -án being a diminutive suffix). Legend tells of "seal children" who are warned never to stray too close to the land. For, they are told, if a “seal child” is swept ashore by heavy seas, such a child can become trapped in a human form, known as a “Selkie” (Silkie). If you are interested in finding out more about the legends of such "seal-humans" take a look at the poem/song: “The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry”.  But let's return to St. Ronán.

The Vita S. Ronani,
the life of the saint, was finally written sometime during the 1200s. According to this source, St. Ronàn was born in Ireland in the sixth century of pagan parents. He was well-educated, became a Christian and eventually became a bishop. His good works as a bishop brought him great renown in Ireland; however, he longed to have a quieter, more hidden life which, he hoped, would lead him to closer communion with God. So at the height of his career, he chose voluntary exile; severing all ties with kin and country and embarking on a voyage to Brittany. 

Having landed "in the region of Léon", St. Ronàn continued his journey southwards to the kingdom of Cornouaille (Latin Cornubia) and set up a hermitage at what would become known as Locronàn (the place of Ronàn). Here he devoted himself to prayer and an ascetic way of life. Even though he tried to live a hidden life, he soon attracted a multitude of admirers from the region who gradually formed a religious community around him. The hours that St. Ronàn spent in silent prayer and contemplation led to his name of Ronàn the Silent.  Eventually, St. Ronàn died in his cell surrounded by his community. 

The second part of the Vita S. Ronani focuses on events after St. Ronàn's death -- the miracles attributed to his intercession, the growth of his cult and the fate of his relics.  The first reported miracle following his death came about due to a dispute over where the saint should be buried. After asking the saint for guidance, a couple of oxen led the people to a burial spot, indicating that this was where St. Ronàn desired to be buried. Once the body was placed at this site, healings and miracles of all sorts begin to occur and the cult of St. Ronàn grew

To this very day in Locronàn (Cornwall) Brittany, St. Ronàn's feast day is the subject of an annual pilgrimage and celebration known, locally, as the "Forgiveness" of St. Ronàn.

St. Ronàn, pray for us.  

Much of the above  information was taken from various Internet sources.



Ronàn ready for his 3 a.m. feeding!

Brothers -- Ronàn and Braden

Dad is up early!



"There had better be a good reason for waking me!"
Well, after a couple of weeks of allowing me to "sleep in" until between 5:30 - 5:45 in the morning, Suki has gone back to her old ways of trying to awaken me when she first feels those hunger pangs -- around 5 a.m.! 

 Of course, it may not be entirely her fault. After all, I was the one who placed temptation in her way and so I guess I must accept some responsibility. However, it seems to me that just because someone is tempted, it doesn't necessarily follow that they have to give in to that temptation. But, then, we all know what Suki is like! Let me explain... 

 Due to the fact that the weather has now turned so cold, I felt I could no longer leave the blinds, covering the balcony door, tied back at night. You may recall that I had originally tied them back so that Suki would not be able to rattle them, noisily, whenever she felt it was time for me to get up in the morning and feed her. I mean -- even I can't sleep with the Venetian blinds clacking together, over and over again! 

 Thus, earlier this past week, I left the blinds untied at bedtime so that the balcony door was covered. The result of doing this was that a good amount of cold air was no longer able to "draft" into the apartment during the night which meant that I didn't have to have the thermostat up quite so high in order to remain comfortable while I was sleeping. 

 The first night the blinds were untied, Suki did not seem to notice -- maybe she was just so used to them being unavailable that she simply paid no attention. However, by the second night, she had quite obviously become aware that the blinds were no longer tied back as evidenced by her attempt on Wednesday morning to awaken me about 4:45 by pushing those blessed blinds back and forth so that they made that annoying clackety-clack sound! 

I cannot post what I said to Suki when I was jerked awake by this most unpleasant noise. Let's just say that my comments included lots of rude words -- the kind they still bleep out in TV programs! Anyway, as any of my faithful Suki followers know, yelling at Suki has no effect other than to, perhaps, make me feel a bit better for a moment or two. 

 So, I did what was required -- I got up, grabbed the cat, shut her up in the bathroom, turned on the Baroque music channel on the TV (to muffle the sounds of Suki meowing) and painfully crawled back into bed. Of course, by this time I was too wide awake to go back to sleep so, instead, I just lay there for a while, trying to let the sounds of Vivaldi and friends soothe my troubled mind. After a while, I gave in, got up, released poor Suki from her "prison" and let her lead me to the kitchen where her food was waiting to be prepared. 

Since then, I have once more been tying the blinds back at bedtime; however, I am also turning down the thermostat so that it doesn't try to heat up the place during the night and simply adding an extra heavy blanket to my bedclothes. When I awaken now, I feel rather like I am back on the farm -- all warm under a pile of blankets except for my cold nose and a purring kitty cat under the blankets with me. Maybe this was her plan all along! 

As for my other concerns, I remain much the same. I did have a medical visit this past week -- a follow-up appointment at Mt. Sinai Hospital regarding my TMJ replacements. It was such a waste of time. Not only did I have to endure terrible pain as they tried to push my twisted neck and back into position for a panoramic x-ray, but then they charged me $80 for the privilege! I have no plans to ever return to that doctor again. 

 BTW, just a note to those of you on my Christmas calendar list -- you know who you are. Please let me know if you would be willing to receive a desk calendar this year rather than a wall one. Thanks.



"Icon--Christ the King", by the  hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014

Jesus said to his disciples: 'When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate people one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."     Matt. 25:31-46 [only 31- 34 posted above] 

This is the beginning of the passage that speaks about the sheep being those who, having fed the hungry, clothed the naked etc. during their lifetimes, will now realize that in doing this for others, they really did it to Christ -- whether they knew it or not! Since most of us do kind things for others during our lives -- regardless of our motives -- I think we can take comfort in knowing that He sees it as though we "[are doing] it for Him".

It seems to me, then, that only those who have knowingly shut themselves off from love and loving would be excluded from the sheep and included with the goats.   

Of course, I ask myself, then, if there are really any such people who don't, deep down, desire to be loved.  It seems almost impossible to me that there would be. Wouldn't even the worst of people, once you have stripped away the surface anger, hatred and the desperate need to control, reveal, underneath it all, a small, frightened child yearning to be loved and accepted?  Perhaps not, but I, personally, cannot imagine it -- maybe because I see that small, frightened child so clearly within myself.

And, so I pray that we may all continue to try to love our neighbours as ourselves so that we, too, may some day hear the words: "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these..., you did it to me. Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Grant us the grace to be kind.


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