Saint Malachy

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Saint Malachy (măl´əkē), 1095–1148, Irish churchman, reformer of the church in Ireland. His Irish name was Máel Máedoc ua Morgair. He was assistant to Cellach (Celsus), bishop of Armagh, who was attempting to reduce the disorderly ecclesiastical system to a state of discipline. Malachy was ordained, studied at Lismore, and became abbot of Bangor (1123?), bishop of Connor (1124), and archbishop of Armagh (1134–37). He resigned to be bishop of Down in 1137. Paganism was rife in Ireland following the invasions of the Danes. To deal with the problem, St. Malachy reorganized the Irish church into a territorial hierarchy, following the example of the church in England and on the Continent. He disciplined the clergy and generally ushered in a religious revival. He went to Rome to seek confirmation of his deeds and to request the pallium for newly created Irish archbishops. On the way he visited Clairvaux (1140), where he became the friend of St. Bernard. They planned a Cistercian house for Ireland; this resulted (1142) in the abbey of Mellifont (near Brobheda). On a later trip to the Continent, he died at Clairvaux, where he was buried. Feast: Nov. 3. The primary source is the biography by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Eng. tr. by H. J. Lawlor, 1920).

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Malachy, St (c.1094–1148). Malachy was a great reforming bishop in Ireland, when hereditary succession linked church with clan, sacraments were neglected, and old customs frequently prevailed over canon law. His own nomination as archbishop of Armagh, 1129, was strongly opposed by his predecessor's kin and took several years to resolve. Journeying to Rome, 1139, Malachy stayed with Bernard of Clairvaux. They became firm friends, and with monks trained under Bernard, Malachy established a Cistercian monastery at Mellifont (Co. Louth). Appointed papal legate to Ireland, his wish to remain at Clairvaux was denied, but it became his final resting place when he died there en route to Rome.

Audrey MacDonald