Our Lady of Consolation

Picture History
Tweet this Facebook Reddit Stumbleupon Digg this

Our Ladys Picture Weeps

The City of Györ, stands midway between Vienna and Budapest, a distance of almost 120 Km. each way. The Cathedral, which towers over the city, contains the Miraculous Painting of Our Lady of Consolation - Comforter of the Afflicted and it is known as - The Weeping Madonna or the Irish Madonna. The story behind the painting goes back to Cromwellian times in Ireland. Bishop Walter Lynch of Clonfert, who was exiled in Gyor from the Cromwellian Wars in Ireland, had taken the picture of the Virgin and the Child Jesus with him, when he and several other Bishops were deported to Flanders in Belgium in the 1650's. When he died in 1663, he bequeathed his most precious possession, the painting of the Blessed Virgin and the Holy Child, to the Cathedral in Gyor, where it was placed near the altar of St. Anne.

On St. Patrick's Day 1697, about 6.00 a.m. while Mass was being celebrated and in the presence of many people. Droplets of blood, like sweat, were observed coming from the figure of Our Lady in the painting. When the picture was wiped by means of a fine linen cloth, the sweat broke out again and continued for another three hours until 9.00 a.m. The news spread quickly and crowds, young and old, rushed to witness this phenomenon - this miraculous event. As one observer stated,

"It is impossible to describe the commotion which arose, horror from some, pious fervour from others, but mostly, the desire to see the picture close at hand".

To dispel any suspicion of possible fraud or deception, the Church authorities had the picture taken down from the wall, separated from its ornamental frame, stripped of its stretching laths and finally, closely inspected and shaken. It was found to be free of any natural moisture and the wall where it was hung, was quite dry. Moreover, being detached and held alone over a table, it continued to sweat blood from the eyes; this manifestly constituted something miraculous.The linen cloth, which was used to sponge up the drops of blood and is called a Sudarium, was later placed under glass in a silver frame and it is to be seen in the Cathedral where it is displayed today on the anniversary and on important occasions. It was said by some that the Virgin wept because of the suffering caused by the Turkish occupation of the country and by others that is was due to the sins of the people.But it did take another two hundred years before the Irish connection was revealed.

The Reformation and its Consequences

The English Reformation in the 16th century, during the reign of Henry V111, resulted in the dissolution of the monasteries and the disamntling monastic system. Their lands were confiscated, including the Lands of Donnycarney. The 17th century was a difficult time for Catholics. The Civil War of 1644 in England brought Oliver Cromwell to power and further conflict on Catholics. He arrived in Dublin in 1649 with a large army and brutally crushed all opposition and proclaimed - "The Irish can go to Hell or Connaught". This enabled further colonization to occur in Cromwell's wake.

When James II ascended the throne in 1685, Catholics in Ireland, who had long been suffering had high hopes for the future. They were soon to be dashed as James fled England and was replaced as king by William of Orange. The conflict between the two monarchs was finally settled in 1690, at the Battle of the Boyne, when William defeated the army of James II resulting in a level of injustice and intolerance, which has continued to be felt to the present day. As a consequence, the Irish were excluded from any high post, universities or schools. They lost the right to buy land or to inherit land. They could not build schools and churches could not have a tower or bell. Our industries and trade were crippled by repressive legislation.

On March 16th 1697, the Protestant Parliament in Dublin began discussing the Act of Banishment 1697, which declared - An Act of banishing all Papists exercising any ecclesiastical jurisdiction and all the regulars of the Popish clergy out of the kingdom. The act rescinded the promises made in the Treaty of Limerick, which said "their Majesties in this kingdom will endeavour to procure the said Roman Catholics such further security in that particular as may preserve them from any disturbance upon account of their said religion". The Act also prevented Protestants marrying Roman Catholics (Popists). Hell and earth seemed to have combined in this fatal year 1697 to crush the name of Catholic from the people of Ireland. Yet the Mother of God showed much sympathy and concern in her sweat of blood in Györ on St. Patrick's Day 1697 over the sorrow and persecution that was to be perpetrated on the Irish Nation.

The Penal Laws were ruthlessly enforced and were not repealed until the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, due to the persistent efforts of Daniel O'Connell. May she now, in our present disturbed world, bring peace and unity to our land and the world at large and save us from the effects of the worldliness and materialistic spirit of the present times?

Bishop Walter Lynch (Bishop of Clonfert and assistant Bishop of Györ)

Walter Lynch was born in Galway in 1593, the son of James and Apollonia Lynch. He studied theology in Lisbon and Paris, where he was ordained a priest. He earned his doctorate at the Sorbonne and on March 11th 1647, he was appointed Bishop of Clonfert. By June 1651, Cromwell's troops had reached Clonfert and in July 1651 they had taken Galway. Walter Lynch with several bishops escaped to Inishbofin, off the coast of County Galway, which was the last seat of Confederate resistance. On 14th February 1653 they capitulated and according to the article of surrender, the Governor with 1000 troops and all the clergy were allowed to leave.

Bishop Lynch and the other bishops were transported to Flanders in Belgium and not long afterwards it was reported to Rome that Walter Lynch "was living in great need". He travelled to Vienna in 1655 where he found refuge. He had very little possessions, but among them was a painting of the Virgin and Child. However there are no written documents of his time in Vienna. It was in Vienna he met Bishop Janos Pusky of Gyor, who invited the homeless Irish Bishop to Gyor and ensured him a livelihood. He was appointed a Canon and later an assistant bishop. On 23rd Sept. 1659 he consecrated the rebuilt Church of St. Stephen belonging to the Franciscans and presented Canon Szupponits with his Pectoral Cross.

Bishop Lynch was planning to return to Ireland to settle a dispute in his diocese but on July 14th 1663 he passed away and was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral. His most valued possession the painting of the Blessed Virgin with the Holy Child was placed near the altar of St. Anne Bishop Lynch, according to Bishop Zichy of Gyor, "he was a model pastor, who spent his income on the protection of the poor and who was greatly loved by the people".

History Menu