The Baptism of Aengus

From An Illustrated History of Ireland by Margaret Anne Cusack

« start... Chapter IX. ...continued

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Nor is the story of Aengus, another royal convert, less interesting. About the year 445, the saint, after passing through Ossory, and converting a great number of people, entered the kingdom of Munster. His destination was Cashel, from whence King Aengus, the son of Natfraech, came forth to meet him with the utmost reverence.

This prince had already obtained some knowledge of Christianity, and demanded the grace of holy baptism.

The saint willingly complied with his request. His courtiers assembled with royal state to assist at the ceremony. St. Patrick carried in his hand, as usual, the Bachall Isu; at the end of this crozier there was a sharp iron spike, by which he could plant it firmly in the ground beside him while preaching, or exercising his episcopal functions. On this occasion, however, he stuck it down into the king's foot, and did not perceive his mistake until—

"The royal foot transfixed, the gushing blood
Enrich'd the pavement with a noble flood."

The ceremony had concluded, and the prince had neither moved nor complained of the severe suffering he had endured. When the saint expressed his deep regret for such an occurrence, Aengus merely replied that he believed it to be a part of the ceremony, and did not appear to consider any suffering of consequence at such a moment.[1]

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[1] Moment.—Keating, vol. ii. p. 15.


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