An excellent article by Irish journalist Niall O'Dowd: Simon wins, Susan loses, and that's entertainment for him

My friends,

Many of us felt great joy when the "ordinary" Susan Boyle turned into someone quite extraordinary, singing the aptly named "I Dreamed a Dream" with such passion and beauty it could have brought tears to the eyes of a statue. There was indeed something dreamlike about seeing this Scottish daughter of Irish immigrant parents prove, as she said after her stunning solo, "that I could do something with my life."

The devout Catholic also paid tribute to her late mother, Bridget, whom she misses terribly. "I knew it was something I had to do," she said. "I had to get on with it. That's where the courage came from, my mother."

But, as IrishCentral's staff first reported, Susan's courage came from another "mother," too: She has long made an annual pilgrimage to the County Mayo shrine of Our Lady of Knock, often called the "Mother of Ireland." In fact, it was at Knock that Fr. Basil Clark,
dean of West Lothian, the district that covers Boyle's home village of Blackburn, first heard her sing.

Lately, however, Susan's life has become a very hard road to walk. Considered learning-disabled as a child; solitary, jobless, devoted only to God, her church, her sick mother, and her beloved cat as an adult, she was ill-prepared for the bright lights of fame. The toxic invasion of the British press, obsessed with calling her "the 48-year-old virgin" in almost every story, made her hellish new life even harder.

Although he made his comments more than two months ago, just after Susan's original performance, it is haunting to hear Fr. Clark's premonitions:

"I am quite worried for her," he said. "I think it's great at one level. It might just be the thing that will make her, but she is a very vulnerable person and it could be quite difficult.

"It is a great opportunity for her and as far as I am concerned she should make the best of it, and if it lasts, it lasts, and if it doesn't, then it's still more than almost any one of us will ever achieve," he added. But while reminding us that she was "a woman of great faith" who was "very gentle and very caring," the good pastor clearly saw dark clouds on the horizon.

There is an old and cynical saying: "Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it." But Susan did not pray at the Knock shrine in Ireland to be a star, or for fame, or for riches. She prayed to the Blessed Mother of Jesus and Our Lady of Knock for courage, for her life to have meaning.

Isn't that a prayer we all have in our hearts?

Like all prayers, Susan's was answered by her Loving God, Who could not and cannot deny His Beloved Children a prayer so deep and yearning.

Susan found her courage, singing the deeply moving solo from "Les Miserables" with such strength that all her "mothers" would have cried tears of joy: The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus; Our Lady of Knock, Mother of Ireland; and finally, a mother named Bridget Boyle, who had come to Heaven in 2007.

But in the past few weeks, the ugly meat-grinder that is the entertainment industry has chewed its way through this beautiful soul. She is no longer Susan Boyle to them, just a commodity to sell. They will sell her concerts, sell her voice, sell her likeness, sell her story, and probably even sell Susan Boyle bobble-head dolls in time for Christmas.

She cries constantly and is beset with anxiety. She misses her beloved companion, her cat Pebbles. Singing -- which is "the dream she dreamed" -- has become a burden she cannot manage, and she has been given a demanding schedule of performances that would make even Bono check into a rest home. To no great surprise, some of these shows have been canceled because the star could not shine for her Hollywood masters.

Susan, my sister in Christ, I speak to you now in the confidence that Our Loving Father will find a way for you to hear these words:

You must return to Our Lady of Knock, and give this nightmarish problem to the Mothers in Heaven Who love you, and who will hear and answer you. They will lift this terrible weight from you as if it was a feather. The tears in your eyes will dry, your beautiful smile will return, and you can use your beautiful voice where it truly belongs: in your own parish choir at Our Lady of Lourdes in Scotland.

God longs to give you His Love and Peace, but He cannot do for you what He cannot do through you. You must open your heart to Him -- He only needs a tiny space, and He will rush in to heal you, His Beloved Child.

You are being held in bondage now by the "money-changers" whom Jesus, with righteous anger, threw out from the temple. Your new friends are indeed high and mighty, but who do you think is stronger, and will triumph and save you: the money-changers, or The Great Creator of the Universe?

Ask, and you shall receive, Susan!

God bless you all!

-- Father Tim

An excellent article by Irish journalist Niall O'Dowd: Simon wins, Susan loses, and that's entertainment for him