Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Life of St. Declan of Ardmore (Author: Patrick Power)

chapter 3

On the night of Declan's birth a wondrous sign was revealed to all, that is to the people who were in the neighbourhood of the birthplace; this was a ball of fire which was seen blazing on summit of the house in which the child lay, until it reached up to heaven and down again, and it was surrounded by a multitude of angels. It assumed the shape


of a ladder2 such as the Patriarch, Jacob saw. The persons who saw and heard these things wondered at them. They did not know (for the true faith had not yet been preached to them or in this region) that it was God who (thus) manifested His wondrous power (works) in the infant, His chosen child. Upon the foregoing manifestation a certain true Christian, scil.:—Colman, at that time a priest and afterwards a holy bishop, came, rejoicing greatly and filled with the spirit of prophecy, to the place where Declan was; he preached the faith of Christ to the parents and made known to them that the child was full of the grace of God. He moreover revealed to them the height of glory and honour to which the infant should attain before God and men, and it was revealed to him that he (Declan) should spend his life in sanctity and devotion. Through the grace of God, these, i.e. Erc and Deithin, believed in God and Colman, and they delivered the child for baptism to Colman who baptised him thereupon, giving him the name of Declan. When, in the presence of all, he had administered Baptism, Colman spoke this prophecy concerning the infant ‘Truly, beloved child and lord you will be in heaven and on earth most high and holy, and your good deeds, fame, and sanctity will fill all (the four quarters of) Ireland and you will convert your own nation and the Decies from paganism to Christianity. On that account I bind myself to you by the tie of brotherhood and I commend myself to your sanctity.’