Lawrence was born in 1128 as a Son of Murtagh, chief of the Murrays, near Kildare, Ireland. As a boy, he was taken hostage by the raiding King Dermot McMurrogh of Leinster, but was turned over to the Bishop of Glendalough after two years. Lawrence became a monk at Glendalough, was named abbot in 1153, and in 1161, was named Archbishop of Dublin.
He instituted reforms among the clergy, upgraded the caliber of new clerics, and imposed strict discipline on his canons. When a revolt drove Dermot McMurrogh from Ireland, the king sought the help of King Henry II of England, who dispatched an army of his nobles headed by Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke. He landed in Ireland in 1170 and marched on Dublin. While Lawrence was negotiating with him, Dermot’s men and allies raped and looted the city. When Dermot suddenly died, Pembroke declared himself King of Leinster as the husband of Dermot’s daughter Eva (Lawrence’s niece), but was recalled to England by Henry. Before Pembroke could return, the Irish united behind Rory O’Connor, and the earl barricaded himself in Dublin as the Irish forces attacked. While Lawrence was trying to effect a settlement, Pembroke suddenly attacked and won an unexpected victory.
Henry himself then went to Ireland in 1171, received the submission of most of the Irish chieftains, and the beginning of the “troubles” between Ireland and England began. In 1172, a synod Lawrence convened at Cashel confirmed a bull of Pope Adrian IV imposing the English form of the liturgy on Ireland. Lawrence accepted the decrees when Pope Alexander II confirmed them. In 1175, he went to England to negotiate a treaty between Henry and Rory O’Connor, and was attacked while visiting the Shrine of Thomas Becket. He attended the General Lateran Council in Rome in 1179, and was appointed papal legate to Ireland. On his way home he stopped off in England to conduct further negotiations on behalf of Rory O’Connor, and was forbidden to return to Ireland by Henry. He went to visit Henry in Normandy and got the decision reversed, but then died on the return trip to Ireland. He was canonized in 1225.
Just as St. Lawrence spent much of his time interceding and negotiating, we too, are called to negotiate for peace and intercede on behalf of others in prayer. May we always seek to do our part in bringing peace where there is strife and sending up our intercessory prayers for others, calling on our Father to help us.
Dear Lord, thank you for those like St. Lawrence who intercede on our behalf and negotiate for the well-being of our country, our families, our lives. We ask that St. Lawrence continue to intercede for us and help us to live our lives in peace and harmony. Amen.
Other Saints We remember Today
St. Sylvester (1267), Abbot, Martyr
St. Peter of Alexandria (311), Bishop, Martyr
St. Leonard of Port Maurice (1751), Priest, Patron of Parish Missions
St. John Berchmans (1621), Jesuit novice, Patron of Altar Boys