St. Lawrence O'Toole
Lawrence was born in Ireland in 1128. He was the son of a chief. When he was only ten years old, a neighboring king made a raid on his father's territory and carried him away. The boy suffered for two years. Then his father forced the king to give him up to the care of a bishop. When he did, Lawrence's father hurried to see his son. He gratefully brought him home.
The chief wanted one of his sons to enter the service of the Church. While he was wondering which one it might be, Lawrence told him with a laugh that he need not wonder anymore. "It is my desire," said Lawrence, "to have for my inheritance the service of God in the Church." So his father took him by the hand and gave him into the care of the bishop. Lawrence became a priest and the abbot of a great monastery. Once food became very scarce in the whole neighborhood of the monastery. The good abbot gave great quantities away to keep the people from starving. He had many problems to handle as head of the monastery, too. Some of the monks criticized him for being too strict. But Lawrence kept right on guiding the community in the way of self-sacrifice, despite the criticism. Then, there was the problem of the robbers and outlaws who lived in the nearby hills. Yet nothing discouraged the fearless Lawrence O'Toole.
He became so famous that before long he was chosen to be archbishop of Dublin. In this new position, he lived as holy a life as ever. Every day, he invited many poor people to be his guests. He helped many others besides. Lawrence dearly loved his people and Ireland, his country, and he did all he could to keep it at peace. Once a madman attacked him as he was going up to the altar to say Mass. He was knocked to the floor unconscious. Yet he came to his senses right away. He had the wound washed at once, and then went right ahead with the Mass.
After years of labor for the Church, St. Lawrence O'Toole became very ill. When he was asked if he wanted to make a will, the holy archbishop smiled. He answered, "God knows that I don't have a penny in the world." He had long ago given everything he had to others, just as he had given himself completely to God. St. Lawrence O'Toole died on November 14, 1180. He was proclaimed a saint by Pope Honorius III in 1225.
St. Lawrence knew the importance of standing firm in doing what is right, even in the face of criticism.