Kildare monk calls for return of St Laurence’s heart

Kildare monk and local historian Fr Owen Waldron is calling on thieves who stole the 800-year-old preserved heart of Castledermot-born St Laurence O’Toole last weekend to return the relic.

Kildare monk and local historian Fr Owen Waldron is calling on thieves who stole the 800-year-old preserved heart of Castledermot-born St Laurence O’Toole last weekend to return the relic.

Speaking to the Leader, the monk based in Bolton Abbey in Moone, said the theft is “very upsetting” for the local community.

The preserved heart was stolen last Friday night from a small heart-shaped wooden box that was sealed in an iron-barred case in Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral. Church officials now believe a religious fanatic hid overnight in the Cathedral before stealing the piece.

Fr Owen described the relic as “very precious” and praised the Cathedral for preserving the 800-year-old heart. However he lamented the fact that St Laurence’s preserved heart has never returned to his birthplace.

St Laurence, it appears, was born about the year 1125 on Mullagh Creelan hill between Castledermot and Athy. He spent his early childhood there. When he was 10 years old his father delivered him up as a hostage to Dermod Mac Murchad, King of Leinster, who treated the child with great inhumanity, until his father obliged the tyrant to put him in the hands of the Bishop of Glendalough, in the county of Wicklow. He later became Archbishop of Dublin and is also the patron saint of the capital.

While travelling to Rome on a pilgrimage, he died in Eu in northern France. His body was buried in Normandy but his heart was returned to Ireland.