We can „thank” a war that ended more than 10,000 people’s lives for one of our most important religious relics.
Galway is located in west Ireland and it was the place to be conquered during the conquest of Cromwell in 1651. They persecuted the Catholic people and they sent more than 50,000 people to hard labour in the English colonies.
They also persecuted the leaders of the churches. Some of them were sent to Belgium. Among them was Walter Lynch, a bishop. Walter Lynch was one of the heroes of this story among other Catholic people who saved the Madonna painting from destruction. This painting was one of his family relics also.
He escaped from Belgium to Vienna where he met János Püsky who was the bishop of Győr. They became good friends quickly and János Püsky invited him to be a member of Győr’s Chapter.
Walter Lynch arrived to our town in 1655 and lived here until he died in 1663. He rests in peace in the cript of the Cathedral in Győr. He wanted to show his thankfuness for hosting and welcoming him and giving a home to him in Győr by leaving the painting at the sorority of Győr.
It seems like the painting stayed connected to its home where the Catholic people were still persecuted. Maybe it can seem like a cruel joke from the English parliament that they announced their decree on Saint Patrick’s day (who is the patron saint of the Irish Catholic people and he is the apostle of Ireland) in 1697. This decree was about casting away the Irish bishop.
On this day the Madonna cried blood between 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. front of many believers and church dignitaries in the Cathedral of Győr. Many people from different countries and beliefs have come and visited this miraculous painting in the Cathedral.
They dried the tears with a cloth, and they framed it with silver frame. They still keep this framed cloth in the Diocesan Treasury and Library of Győr.
The news of this story spread far and wide. A few months later, according to the imperial command, the painting was carried around for a procession in Vienna.
The delegation of Ireland was in Győr also at the 200th anniversary of this miracle in 2003. Lajos Pápai (the bishop of Győr) took the copy of the painting to Loughrea as a present for the 350th anniversary of the end of Cromwell’s conquest.
Not very people know that the Hungarian people call the Weeping Madonna in Győr the „Irish Madonna” and Irish people call it as „Our lady of Győr”.
The other interesting parallel is that there is another Madonna located in Eyrecourt. It is called „Our lady of Clonfert” and thousands of pilgrims visit it every year in May.
It is from the 14th century and it was carved out of wood and painted. It is famous for having been hidden during the Cromwell’s persecution of the catholic people. A lumberjack found it in the hole of an oak tree when the tree started to bleed as he was chopping it.