Venerable Patrick Peyton by Fr Michael Fitzgerald
On December 18th, 2017, Pope Francis signed the Document declaring Fr.
Peyton Venerable, confirming, on investigation, his heroic virtues.
His cause will now proceed to beatification and will require a
miracle through his intercession. Fr. Steve, Padraig, and all working
in the Fr. Peyton Memorial Centre, Attymass, Co. Mayo, are all
celebrating the great announcement, as indeed is the whole
Congregation of the Holy Cross Order.
Fr. Peyton was born in Carracastle, in the Parish of Attymass, on
January 9th, 1909. He had three bothers and five sisters. They lived
in a three roomed thatched cabin on a fourteen acre farm. His father
was not in great health. He suffered from bronchitis, due to
much hardship growing up and having to work periodically in England. Fr.
Patrick’s mother Mary and all the family had to work very hard in
order to eat and live. Fr. Peyton’s elder sisters Beatrice and Nellie
eventually went to America, and relieved the family somewhat, by the
help they sent home.
One inflexible rule in the Peyton household was that every one of the
family had to participate in the family Rosary led by his father. It
didn’t matter how hard or how long the day’s work was – digging
potatoes, cutting turf or repairing a road: “It was the entire family
praising God, asking Him through His Mother to protect it, to guide it
to the destiny He had intended for it. That nightly scene constitutes
my earliest memory and the most abiding, from it I derive the entire
pattern and purpose of my existence“( Fr. Peyton, All for Her).
From his earliest years Fr. Peyton was a reflective, devout and
stubborn young boy. Serving at the Altar for Mass was the thrill of
his early years. It was during those years he thought of becoming a
priest. He tried a number of Religious Orders, but had no success. He
became despondent and decided he would get married and raise a family.
His teenage years were a struggle with despondent moods and a bad
temper, even to one day having a contest with his father.
When Fr. Peyton was 14 or 15, he went to help a young neighbouring
family to pick the potatoes, and he stayed the week for an agreed wage.
When they gathered around the fireplace on the 1st evening after the
day’s work, Fr. Peyton expected the father of the household to announce
the Rosary, as his own father did. But all the man of the house said
was, it was time to go to bed. Fr. Peyton was deeply saddened; he went
to bed and said the Rosary himself. This went on for the full week and
Saturday evening came and it was time to walk home. The father payed Fr.
Peyton his wage, and walked back the road a bit with him, and Fr. Peyton, just as
they were about to part, blurted out to him, how disappointed he was that
there was no Rosary recited in the home. Fr. Peyton expected the man
to give him a clout but he didn’t, they parted and Fr. Peyton learned
later that the family started praying the Rosary together. Fr. Peyton
said it was his first sermon. Fr. Peyton thought: they worked together,
they talked together, they laughed together, but they didn’t pray
together. He said later that he couldn’t remember what exactly he said to the man,
but it was his first sermon.
The above information is taken from Fr. Peyton’s Autobiography, ” All
for Her” and is available at the Fr. Peyton Memorial Centre. In my
next article, I will write about his departure to the USA.