By Rev. Brenda G. Warren
ST. FURSEY AND HIS LORICA
c597-January 16, 649 AD
The Resurrection (Feast) Day of St. Fursey is January 16. He is also known as Fursa, Fursei, Furseus and was the first recorded Irish missionary to Anglo-Saxon England.
He arrived in East Anglia in 633AD with his younger brothers Foillan and Ultan, two years before St. Aidan established his monastery on Lindisfarne. This former Irish monk brought a renewed Christianity to Eastern England and established monasteries in both East Anglia and France.
Fursey is particularly famous for his horrific and very descriptive visions of Hell that he wrote down. These visions greatly influenced Dante’s Inferno. Even with Fursey’s scary visions of hell, I find this Irish saint’s peripatetic and powerful life to be both charming and intriguing.
As we journey through this New Year of 2019, the Lorica of St. Fursey is a beautiful Celtic prayer of protection attributed to St. Fursey to companion with us throughout the next weeks and months. In Christian monasticism, a Lorica is a prayer recited for protection. It is also called a breastplate prayer.
Lorica of St. Fursey
The arms of God be around my shoulders,
the touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,
the sign of Christ’s cross upon my forehead,
the sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,
the fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,
the vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,
the conversation of heaven’s company on my lips,
the work of God’s church in my hands,
the service of God and the neighbor in my feet,
a home for God in my heart,
and to God, the father of all, my entire being.
The Fursey Lorica from: Fursey Pilgrims.co.uk. The original reference to the Fursey Lorica is BL MS 30512 folio.35v.
Rev. Brenda G. Warren is an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She currently serves as an Interim Pastor. She is married with two sons, a daughter-in-love, and two Maine Coon cats, which of course both have Celtic/Irish names. One cat’s name is Fursey, who to the best of my knowledge has not had any scary visions of hell.