After my beloved grandmother Mary O’Hara passed away in 1987 my family and I helped my grandfather clean out her room. It was a sad task, there were drawers to be sorted through, full of the pieces of a life now gone-- her gloves, scarves and sachets. There was also a small book bound in black leather I’d never seen before. At the top of the cover, in gold, was an engraved image of the Sacred Heart. Near the bottom, also engraved in gold, was the title, Treasury of the Sacred Heart.
|Anna Ryan White|
Upon opening it I found the inscription, “From Grandma & Aunt Maggie to Mary with Love”. From my family research I knew Grandma could only be Anna Ryan White, since she was the only living grandmother and Aunt Maggie was Anna’s daughter Margaret. I also knew Aunt Maggie must have done the inscribing since Anna, who was born in Tipperary in 1831, couldn’t read English. The book itself, printed in Dublin, bore the date 1905 and was approved by Paul Cardinal Cullen, the man credited with the devotional revolution in Ireland.
I think perhaps it was a First Communion gift, the cover is padded and bound in a lovely soft leather -- it looks expensive. If that's the case, it would put the date it was given around 1919.
I don’t have to tell all you family historians how much this little tome means to me, or how I love the sheer Irishness of it. It sits on a shelf near my desk where I can see it as I sit down to pursue my research, a reminder of how we are all connected to the past.