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Today we celebrate All Saints of Ireland

100px-Saint_Patrick_(window)Let us praise illustrious men, [and women!]
our ancestors in their successive generations.
The Lord has created an abundance of glory,
and displayed his greatness from earliest times.
(Ecclesiasticus 44:1-15)

Traditionally Ireland has been known as the "Island of Saints and Scholars". But, in fact, we have only four officially canonised saints: St Malachy (1094-1148), St Lawrence O'Toole (1128-80), St Oliver Plunkett (1625-81) and St Charles of Mount Argus (1821-93). All the other Irish saints, such as Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Colmcille, are saints, as it were, by acclamation of the local Church.

The Feast of All Saints of Ireland (created by Pope Benedict XV) also includes those who had a reputation for holiness and whose causes for canonisation have not yet been completed, such as Blessed Thaddeus MacCarthy (1455-92), the seventeen Irish martyrs of the 16th and 17th centuries, Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762-1844), Blessed Columba Marmion (1858-1923) and the Servant of God Matt Talbot (1856-1925) and people like Legion of Mary envoys Edel Quinn and Alfie Lamb, whose causes have already been introduced. But it also includes those whose lives of sanctity were known only to their families, friends or members of their parish, diocese or religious community.