Happy Birhday, Conor!
It is hard to believe that you are 18 years old and it is even tougher knowing that for the last ten years you have become as good a man as I could only hope of being and all without the direct hand of your Mother's guidance.
Your Mom has been with you and that is certain. Mary picked your names - given and middle.
Mary Elizabeth Cleary ( she always went by Mary Hickey after 11/12/83 and said that women who went by Hyphenated names -like Cleary-Hickey- told the world 'Here Comes a Stone Gold-plated Bitch.' ) loved the name Conor and wanted your life marked out with that handle, but you are also named for your Great-Grandfather - Oliver Hercule Duval - Poppi ( I had a lot fun with him about that one). 'Hickey, you're an over-educated stiff and still dumber than than a French Retard.' - Yeah, at least I'm not named for a flower that means Dope, Frog-eater - ' The Irish are the Goddam stupidest looking bastards on earth - and looks don't deceive!'
Oliver was the meanest, toughest, ugliest, smartest and funniest old French farmer that it was my pleasure to spend a great deal of time with. Poppi held you up and said 'Yeah, he's ugly enough to be an Oliver!' You delighted the old guy! He was a WWI soldier who came home and married the 'looks of the family' Antoinette Fortin a redhead from St. George, Illinois. That is your Illinois French Heritage - that gave you your height and looks so thank God for that every day.
I am proud of you! Make no excuses for yourself. You are kind and loyal and that, Conor, is enough.
Register to Vote and for Selective Service. After that you can handle the rest. You have a great name Conor Oliver Hickey; Mary, your Mother with her angelic hand on your shoulder;two wonderful sisters; a large and loving family; and the instincts to be a good man, husband and father. All the rest is side-dishes - empty calories.
Here is the Saint for whom you are named:Read about him! Uncle Bart read some of this when he Bapitized you in the Faith.
Oliver Plunkett was born in Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland in 1629 from well-to-do parents of Danish origins. He was related by birth to a number of families recently ennobled, such as the Earl of Roscommon and Fingall, as well as the Earl of Louth and the Earl of Dunsany. Till his sixteenth year, the boy's education was entrusted to Patrick Plunket, Abbot of St. Mary's, Dublin, and brother of the first Earl of Fingall who later became bishop, successively, of Ardagh and Meath. As an aspirant to the priesthood, he set out for Rome in 1645, under the care of Father Pierfrancesco Scarampi, of the Roman Oratory. At this time, the Irish Confederate Wars were raging in Ireland; these were essentially conflicts between native Irish Catholics and British Protestants. Scarampi was the Papal envoy to the Catholic movement known as the Confederation of Ireland. Many of Plunkett's relatives were involved in this organisation. Plunkett could not have known that, as a result of the outcome of this war, he would not return to Ireland for 15 years.Fom WiKpedia
He was admitted to the Irish College in Rome in 1646 and there proved an able pupil. He was ordained a priest in 1654, and deputed by the Irish bishops to act as their representative in Rome. Meanwhile, the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland (1649-53) had defeated the Catholic cause in Ireland and, in the aftermath, the public practice of Catholicism was banned and Catholic clergy were executed. As a result, it was impossible for Plunkett to return to Ireland for many years. He petitioned to remain in Rome and, in 1657, became a professor of theology. Throughout the period of the Commonwealth and the first years of Charles II's reign, he successfully pleaded the cause of the Irish Church, and also served as theological professor at the College of Propaganda Fide. At the Congregation of Propaganda Fide on July 9, 1669, he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh, the Irish primatial see, and was consecrated on November 30 at Ghent by the Bishop of Ghent, assisted by the Bishop of Ferns and another bishop. He eventually set foot on Irish soil again in March 1670, after the English Restoration having made the political climate there less hostile. The pallium was granted him in the Consistory of July 28, 1670.
After arriving back in Ireland, he set about reorganising the ravaged Church and built schools both for the young and for clergy, whom he found 'ignorant in moral theology and controversies'. He tackled drunkenness among the clergy, writing 'Let us remove this defect from an Irish priest, and he will be a saint'. The Penal Laws had been somewhat relaxed and he was able to establish a Jesuit College in Drogheda in 1670. A year later 150 students attended the College.
St. Oliver Plunkett's headWith the onset of new persecution in 1673 and the college being levelled to the ground, Plunkett went into hiding, traveling only in disguise, and refusing a government edict to register at a seaport to await passage into exile. In 1678, the so-called Popish Plot, concocted in England by Titus Oates, led to further anti-Catholicism. Archbishop Peter Talbot of Dublin was arrested, and Plunkett again went into hiding. The Privy Council in London was told he had plotted a French invasion.
Despite being on the run and with a price on his head, he refused to leave his flock. He was arrested in Dublin in December 1679 and imprisoned in Dublin Castle, where he gave absolution to the dying Talbot. At some point before his final incarceration, he took refuge in a church that once stood in the townland of Killartry in County Louth, in the parish of Clogherhead, seven miles outside of Drogheda. He was tried at Dundalk for conspiring against the state by plotting to bring 20,000 French soldiers into the country, and for levying a tax on his clergy to support 70,000 men for rebellion.
Lord Shaftesbury knew Oliver Plunkett would never be convicted in Ireland and had him moved to Newgate prison, London. The first grand jury found no true bill, but he was not released. The second trial was a kangaroo court; Lord Campbell, writing of the judge, Sir Francis Pemberton, called it a disgrace to himself and his country. Plunkett was found guilty of high treason on June, 1681 "for promoting the Catholic faith," and was condemned to a gruesome death.
On July 1, 1681, Plunkett became the last Catholic martyr to die in England when he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, the last Catholic to die for his faith at Tyburn. His body was initially buried in two tin boxes next to five Jesuits who had died before in the courtyard of St Giles. The remains were exhumed in 1683 and moved to the Benedictine monastery at Lamspringe, near Hildesheim in Germany. The head was brought to Rome, and from there to Armagh and eventually to Drogheda where, since June 29, 1921, it has rested in Saint Peter's Church. Most of the body was brought to Downside Abbey, England, where the major part is located today, with some parts remaining at Lamspringe. Some relics were brought to Ireland in May 1975, while others are in England, France, Germany, the United States, and Australia.
Oliver Plunkett was beatified in 1920 and canonised in 1975, the first new Irish saint for almost seven hundred years, and the first of the Irish martyrs to be beatified. He has since been followed by 17 other Irish martyrs who were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1992. Among them were Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley, Margaret Ball, and the Wexford Martyrs.
Nevertheless, his ministry during its time was most successful and he confirmed over 48,000 people over a four-year period. Since 1997, he is the patron saint, adopted by the prayer group campaigning for peace in Ireland, namely, 'St. Oliver Plunkett for Peace and Reconciliation'.