Co Kildare woman behind annual pilgrimage says she is 'moved' by shows of gratitude

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Co Kildare woman behind annual pilgrimage says she is 'moved' by shows of gratitude
By Louise McCarthy 16:03 Tuesday 18th of September 2018

A Co Kildare woman who is one of the leading organisers of a famous annual pilgrimage expressed surprise at the high turn-out this year by young people.

At Rathbride, on September 8, last, hundreds gathered from all over the country as part of the Fr Sean Moore pilgrimage.

Betty O'Shea is one of the organisers of this special event.

She is 'moved' by the show of gratitude from people returning to the pilgrimage to say that they have been healed of sicknesses.

There were prayers, reflections and lighting of candles. Also a famous hat, dating back to 1826 featured.

She said: "There were a number of very sick people there on the day and many coming back with gratitude to say they have been healed."

Anne and Michael Forde, the custodians of this hat that is reputed to have healing powers, attended on the day with their children and grandchildren.

The Forde family lived opposed Fr Moore's house and were blacksmiths.

At the time, one of the Forde family reported suffering from a headache and Fr Moore sent over his hat, and the headache reportedly disappeared.

He then told the Fordes to keep the hat in the family, that was 1826 and the hat remains in the family.

In the 1970s, the Forde family moved to West Meath,nolonger living in Rathbride, but they brought the hat with them.

Daily, people visit Anne and Michael's home in West Meath.

Anne said: "We have people who call everyday from all over Ireland and the world. They can put the hat on their heads and say prayers, they come for every type of illness, a lot of people have come back to say they have been cured. We are only custodians of the hat, it is for the next generation."

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