The Rosary Beads of Blessed Charles

Blessed Charles first came to Mount Argus in 1857. In those early days the Passionists would take a half-day on a Thursday. Father Salvian in his diaries writes that sometimes some members of the community would pack a hamper, take a cab to Harcourt Street station and take the train to Bray. There they would spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach or on Bray Head. When it came to time for a cup of tea they would take the kettle up to Lacey's Hotel where Mary Ann Lacy would boil the water for them. Mary Ann had two cousins priests in Mount Argus - Fr. Pancras Byrne (d. 1930) and his brother Fr. Berchmans Byrne (d. 1937).

One Thursday when they came to get the water boiled and they were told that Mary Ann Lacy was seriously ill. Blessed Charles was sent to bless her. After he prayed he said that he thought Mary Ann would not get better. Taking his rosary beads from his pocket he gave them to Mary Ann saying, "these are my rosary beads that I took with me from the continent. They are a very precious to me but I will give them to you".

Mary Ann died and was buried in the cemetery beside the Catholic Church in Little Bray. The rosary beads were given to her cousin, John Byrne, Barnaslingen House, Kilternan, Co. Dublin. He in turn gave them to Suzanne Byrne. There the story might have rested and Mount Argus might never have heard about the rosary beads again. History tells us of a twist of fortune.

When Suzanne was a child she was afflicted with a skin disease. She was sent for a cure to a Mrs O'Reilly. Suzanne got better and the two families were friendly from then on. Mrs O'Reilly was the maternal grandmother of the one who was to become the Passionist Fr Herman Nolan.

As a child Fr Herman knew of the existence of the rosary beads, but he admits he did not really believe the story. His mother and his sister were always reminding him of the existence of the rosary beads and telling him that he should get them for Mount Argus. At this time Suzanne was getting old and the urging of Fr Herman's mother and sister grew more insistent. Fr Herman went to a Fr. Oliver Kelly, who was the Vice-Postulator of the Cause of Blessed Charles and they decided to visit Suzanne Byrne. They set out on the 10th March 1970 and Fr. Oliver took with him in a piece of the coffin of Blessed Charles.

Suzanne received them well and exchanged the rosary beads for the piece of the coffin in which Blessed Charles had been buried. Susanne died and is buried near Mary Ann Lacey in the cemetery at the Catholic Church in Little Bray. The rosary beads are now in the possession of Mount Argus. Similar designed beads can be seen in Maynooth College originating in the mid 1800s.