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.

"Yours sincerely,


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