Ita was a descendant of one of Ireland’s kings, born near Waterford in Munster, and baptised Deirdre.
When she became marriageable, Deirdre was courted by a noble suitor. In those days it was customary for the father to accept such a proposal. Deirdre, however, had already decided to become a nun. For three days she prayed that her father would see it her way. The prayer was granted, and she left home for the monastery with his blessing.
She established a that came to be known as Killeedy, that is, “Ita’s cell,” for on taking the veil she had adopted the religious name Ita. She gained a reputation for prophecy and miracle-working, and visitors came from afar to seek her advice.
Ita led a school for small boys. She must have been an inspiring teacher, for among her pupils were the future St. Fachtna of Ross, St. Pulcherius of Liath, St. Cummian of Clonfert, and St. Brendan of Clonfert. Brendan became known as Brendan the Voyager, because he sailed the Atlantic, perhaps even to America.
It is said that as a child Brendan asked St. Ita what three things God loved best. She replied, “True faith in God with a pure heart, simple life with a religious spirit, and openhandedness inspired by charity.” ‘”And what three things,” the child continued, “does God most dislike?” Ita said, “A face which scowls upon all mankind, obstinacy in wrongdoing, and an overweening confidence in the power of money.”
On this day lift before God:
- Those whose advice is trusted by others.
- All involved in teaching.
- Those with pure hearts, living simple lives.
- All with openhanded charity.
- All who tend to scowl.
- All who persist in wrongdoing.
- All who put their faith in the power of money.