St. Malachy – A Great Reformer of Ireland’s Catholic Church

Jul 26, 2021 | The Irish Church

St. Malachy was born in 1094 in Armagh and was educated in the same county. Around 1123 Malachy was consecrated bishop in County Down and the following year he was appointed bishop of Connor, County Antrim. However, over 1100 violent disputes over his position compelled him to leave, and he subsequently became abbot of Iveragh, County Kerry.

No writings of St. Malachy are known to exist, but St. Bernard, founder of the Cistercians and in whom arms St. Malachy is known to have died, wrote a brief but powerful account of this courageous and dedicated man.

St. Bernard on St. Malachy

St. Malachy was single-minded, a man of determination, a high-achiever. He was generous, a father to the orphans, a husband to the widows, the protector of the oppressed. A cheerful giver, he never asked for anything and it embarrassed him to receive. With deep concern and great success he laboured to restore peace between enemies. He was tender and compassionate and fearless in correction.

He was full of zeal, but not lacking in that knowledge that must govern zeal itself. While he could be weak with the weak, he was nevertheless mighty with the mighty. He withstood the proud, beat down the tyrant, a master and director of kings and princes. As if he were a father of all, so did he live for all. He made no distinction of sex or age or condition or rank. He never failed anyone.