My own remembered tale is a little happier. I recall this incident as if it was yesterday. I was weeding the garden as the Dominican priest walked past our home; he had just returned from paying a house visit and I wished him good evening.
The first of my two similar tales is from the long ago.
This poor wife had a terrible time, constantly suffering beatings at her husband’s hands.
But this was in the time when the priest still had enormous respect and influence in the community and was not to be crossed.
The curate was passing by one time when this devilish husband was battering his wife out in their garden, in full view of passers-by.
When he spotted the priest he paused;
then hitting her a final slap for good measure,
he cried out at her,
‘NOW will ye go to Mass on Sundays?’
It must have been a long time ago, and he must have been a Dominican, because he was walking!
I was just a youngster and unknown to him, so there was no reason to share a confidence with me.
I think he was feeling the strain and was delighted by my friendly greeting. Anyway, he started to explain without revealing any names.
He might as well have done, for the details betrayed the names, though he didn’t know it.
She was a convert, he revealed, and was married to a brute of a man who didn’t respect her and treated her very badly. Somehow she’d got it into her head that the Catholic priest still had great powers over all his flock. A visit would be enough to put her man in his place!
He (the priest) had tried verbal chastisement but the husband only laughed at his wife for her naivety, and at him too.
Priest he was, but he was a man too and he wasn’t going to be made a fool of.
He removed his ‘dog-collar’ and invited the husband outside to sort the matter out.
The residents of Derrybeg Drive never ever had such sport, either before or even ever since!
The priest was uncomfortable, boasting, but it was clear that he’d got the better of the fracas.
I had no idea how to react to the priest’s story. Alternatively I consoled; grinned; looked concerned; congratulated and wished well to all involved.
He walked on
– vindicated, I assumed.