BASIC R.C. BELIEF
The name given by Roman Catholics to local superstitions which are supposed
to bolster the faith of the uneducated. One concerns miraculous wells,
where Mary is supposed to cause water to rise on the eve of her feast days.
This water has great power against evil. Such pious legends abound in older
Roman Catholic cultures.
There are a number of wells located in various places that are supposed to
remain dry 364 days a year, but on the eve of some special feast day
(usually of Mary), water miraculously springs up. The faithful often
frequent such spots and use the miraculous water as a means of spiritual
and physical blessing.
One such shrine is Ladywell Shrine, Dundalk, Ireland. The legend is that
on the eve of the Feast of the Assumption, Mary causes miraculous water to
come into the well at this shrine.
On August 15, 1968, I was driving through Dundalk, Ireland, and was
attracted by a large group of people congregating at Ladywell Shrine. I
went in to see what was happening, and on the way bought an empty sauce
bottle from a young boy for two pence. Inside the shrine, these receptacles
were being filled by another boy who was in the shallow well.
I wrote a letter to the parish priest, D. Campbell Aiden, St. Patrick's,
Dundalk, Co. Louth, Eire, asking him about Ladywell Shrine. This is his
"Dear Mr. Jackson,
"A pious legend exists locally that the Ladywell Shrine which you
visited is one of the many `miraculous wells' which exists in this country.
One cannot, of course, discount the possibility that their appearance at
some time in the past may in one or two cases have had certain peculiar
characteristics. Generally, however, it is safer to regard these matters as
belonging to the domain of pious legend, and - provided nothing
superstitious is allowed to intervene - to allow them to be used as a means
towards a recollection of spirtitual things.
"In the case of Ladywell, the tradition is that the water in the well
rises at midnight on the Eve of the Assumption. You will easily understand
that I personally do not think this to be so, as I do not think Our Lady is
given to working `gimmicks' - even for the best of reasons.
"/s/ D. CAMPBELL AIDEN"
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