Monasteries began to dot the emerald-green landscape of this beautiful country, and a new atmosphere of theological learning prevailed…this new learning was based on the study of the Gospel and the Latin language.
One monastery in particular was to become an important part of early Christian history in the Emerald Isle. In the 6th century, many devout Irish pupils attended Clonard Abbey to study the word of God.
Ireland’s Clonard Abbey Figured Prominently In The Lives Of Many Irish Saints
Clonard Abbey, situated near the picturesque River Boyne in County Meath, was to prove a fertile learning environment for many of Ireland’s future saints. These notable Christians went on to preach the word, to care for the sick and poor, and to build more churches and monasteries all over Ireland…
You’ve probably heard of Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick…and perhaps of Brigid, whose famous St. Brigid’s Cross was used to soothe a dying man…however, there are many other Irish saints as well.
If you enjoy learning more about Celtic heritage and history, you’ll enjoy reading more about the life and times of Ireland’s lesser-known saints:
In fact, the mother of this lauded saint believed an angel came to her to tell her of her baby son’s vast potential. This vision from heaven may have been one of the reasons why this child of privilege was cared for by a simple priest, rather than raised in more luxurious surroundings…
Young Columba read the psalms each day, absorbing their messages…he was indeed “a child of God” from a very early age. As he matured, he was taught at Clonard Abbey by Finnian, a wonderful instructor who was also destined for sainthood.
As a young man, Columba went to Derry, Ireland, where he built a monastery to honor God. In time, he was exiled to the Scottish island of Iona, along with 12 others. Historians argue about the reasons for Columba’s banishment – some feel it was self-inflicted, as penance…
Finnian of Clonard was one of the founders of Clonard Abbey in County Meath. Believed to be born in County Carlow, this devout Irishman sequestered himself in Wales for thirty years to devote himself to God. Once this period ended, Finnian went back out into the world, and began to teach lessons of holiness to his pupils.
A popular teacher who shed light on the secrets of the Sacred Scriptures, this priest was known to instruct up to 3000 students at the Abbey.
12 of his pupils were later known as “the 12 Apostles of Ireland” – all of them would also become Irish saints. St. Finnian passed away around 549, but his legacy lives on…his feast day is celebrated every Dec. 12th.
Brendan of Clonfort was also known as “the Navigator” – this Irish saint embarked upon an ambitious quest, to the Isle Of The Blessed. Born in Munster, Ireland, Brendan became a priest in 512. After this, he began to build monasteries in key locations, including the base of scenic Mount Randon.
The quest of Saint Brendan was a search for a literal “Paradise” , or Garden of Eden, on earth. For seven years, the quest continued, and, according to legend, 60 other believers accompanied him on his adventure.
Colorful legends were written about this quest, and they would often feature accounts of Brendan’s battles with fearsome sea monsters and the like. Talking birds would also share prophesies with the Saint and his followers, indicating the holiness of the Isle of The Blessed.
The epic journey of Ireland’s Saint Brendan is now an integral part of the Irish storytelling tradition…
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