On Ascension Sunday I took my mother over to visit Our Ladys Shrine at Clonfert, which is in Co. Galway not far from the town of Banagher. This small Church contains the statue of Our Lady of Clonfert. It is an unusual statue as you can see where one arm is missing. In the 16th century during times of religious suppression in Ireland, this statue was taken from its Monastic home and was hidden in woodland, inside the trunk of a tree for safekeeping.
It remained there forgotten for almost three hundred years, and then according to local legend, in the late 19th century a woodcutter was out looking for a piece of wood for his work when he came across the tree where the statue had been hidden and as he started chopping through the tree, he severed the trunk and noticed blood flowing out. He looked through the branches and there found the sacred statue of Our Lady. He had cut through the arm of the statue. The statue was carefully removed and placed in Meelick Church. But later she was returned to the Church in Clonfert, where today devotions take place especially in the month of May.
It was encouraging to see so many people of all ages coming and going to pray to Our Lady. So many candles were lit and the little Church is decorated beautifully and reverence is respected always for the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.