Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, was in Galway this week to launch a new range of blue tiles associated with devotion to the name of Jesus.
The Franciscans and Poor Clares in Ireland, among others, are celebrating a special year to mark the centenary of a new wave of this devotion which was started by an Irish Franciscan in 1914.
“There’s always been a kind of mystique surrounding the blue tiles and also some peculiar theories as to what they meant,” says Poor Clare Abbess, Sr Colette. “This is a good chance to affirm they do not indicate Garda stations.”
The custom of placing an IHS monogram of the name of Jesus over the door of houses was popularised by St Bernardine of Siena in the 15th century. He introduced this custom as a means of encouraging people to practice Christian charity and to be peacemakers. It was also a way of invoking God’s protection upon the house-dwellers.
The 2014 Year of the Holy Name of Jesus, to which Pope Francis has given his personal support, was initiated by the Irish Franciscans in conjunction with the Poor Clares.
“The Holy name tiles are a subject of interest, not only from a religious point of view, but also from the perspective of local heritage and social history, ” says Franciscan Fr Francis Cotter, co-ordinator of the Centenary Year.
“The existing tiles have been photographed and www.holyname.ie is linked to another website containing a comprehensive catalogue of pictures of the tiles from around the country.”
The new tiles are available from Bothar Emmaus Christian Bookshop, An Tobar Nua, 25-29 Lower Dominick Street, Galway.
For further information contact Deirdre 087-2145379/091-562175.
A website www.holyname.ie has been set up, containing information on the Holy name plaques.