Sunday, 26 March 2017

St. Senchel of Clane and Killeigh

St. Sinell, or Senchell, one of the most distinguished ecclesiastics of his time, founded a Monastery of Killeigh at the beginning of the sixth century. This monastery became afterwards known as the Priory of the Holy Cross of Canons Regular of St. Augustine. St. Senchell, who is stated to have been St. Patrick’s first convert, was the son of Kennfinnain, and grandson of Inchad, or Finchada, of the royal blood of Leinster (Colgan, Trias. Thaum.) The father of the saint was ninth in descent from Cathair Mor, monarch of Ireland. In both the Martyrology of Tallaght and the Feiliré, St. Aengus notes the 5th of April as the Feast of the first Baptism conferred by St. Patrick in Ireland: —“Baptisma Patricii venit ad Hiberniam.” (Mart. Tall.)

“Excellent Patrick’s baptism was kindled in Ireland.” (Feiliré.) On this latter the gloss in the Leabhar Breac adds, “i. Smell, son of Finchad of the Ui-Garrchon, he is the first person Patrick baptised in Ireland.” It is related that St. Ailbe, of Emly, presented him a cell, in which he had himself lived for some time, at Cluain Damh (now Clane, County Kildare). We find St. Senchell afterwards at Killeigh, where he founded a monastery, which in course of time became very celebrated. In order to distinguish him from another St. Senchell, a relative of his, who lived with him at Killeigh (and who is styled Bishop in the litany of St. Aengus), he is usually called senior.

Having lived to a good old age, he died on the 26th of March, AD 549, in his monastery at Killeigh, and was interred there. Petrie states that St Kieran and the two Senchells died of the Plague which raged in 549.

In the litany of St. Aengus Ceile De, written in AD. 799, we have evidence of the celebrity and holiness to which this religious establishment had attained. “Thrice fifty holy bishops with twelve pilgrims, under Senchell the elder, a priest; Senchell the younger, a bishop; and the twelve bishops who settled ia Cill Achaidh Dromfota in Hy Failghi. These are the names of the bishops of Cill Achaidh: —Three Budocis, three Canocis, Morgini, six Vedgonis, six Beaunis, six Bibis, nine Glonalis, nine Ercocinis, nine Grucimnis, twelve Uennocis, twelve Contumanis, twelve Onocis, Senchilli, Britanus from Britain, Cerrui, from Armenia. All these I invoke unto my aid through Jesus Christ.” And again: —“ The twelve Conchennaighi, with the two Senchells in Cill Achaidh, I invoke unto my aid through Jesus Christ.” (IE. Record, May, 1867.) The learned editor of this litany (which he copied from a MS. in the archives of St. Isidore’s at Rome), in a note on the eight monastic rules of the early Irish Saints extant, writes as follows “We may add that we have ourselves discovered another, some-what different from these, in the St. Isidore MS. from which this litany is published, and we regret that want of space alone prevents us from laying it before our readers. It is entitled— The Pious Rules and Practices of the School of Senchil. This was Senchil, surnamed the Elder. The Rules and Practices are 38 in number. When we say that an ardent desire of hearing, and offering up the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and frequent confession were amongst the rules and practices of a school which was celebrated in the first half of the sixth century, we have said enough to prove under what system of education Ireland became ‘another name for piety, and learning in most of the languages of Europe.”

The Irish Annalists relate that in the year 1163 “Glendalough was burned with the house of Kieran, the house of Kevin, and the Church of the two Senchells.” Commenting on this passage, Petrie writes “I am disposed to conclude that the unnamed Church to the S. of St. Kevin’s house (at Glendalough) is that called by the Annalists “The Regles of the two Senchells.’ I may add that we may infer, with every appearance of probability, that all these buildings were of contemporaneous age, and that, if not erected by the persons whose names they bore, those called after St. Kieran and the two Senchells were erected by St. Kevin in their honour, as, though they were all contemporaneous, and Kevin was the dearest friend of Kieran of Clonmacnoise, he survived both him and the Senchells more than sixty years, having lived, according to Tighernagh, to the extraordinary age of 129.” (Petrie’s Round Towers, p. 436.)

ANNALS OF KILLEIGH

AD. 548. St. Senchell the Elder, son of Ceanannan, Abbot of Cill-Achaidh-Droma-foda, died on the 26th day of March. Thirty and three hundred years was the length of his life. (Four Masters.) Colgan (AL SS., p. 747), thinks this number should be one hundred and thirty. In the Mart. Tal. we find at 26th March, “Sinchelli, Abb. Chilli Achaidh; and at 25th June, “Sinchell Cilli Achaidh.” The former refers to St. Senchell, Senior, the latter to St. Senchell, Junior.

The Feiliré makes the 26th of March the “Feast of the two perennial Sinchells of vast Cill Achid;” to which entry the gloss in the Leabhar Breac adds

“Three hundred years—fine satisfaction! That was (the elder) Siachelfs lifetimeAnd thrice ten years brightlyWithout sin, without sloth.”

26 March. Sincheall, Abbot of Cill-achaidh-dromfota, i.e., the old Sincheall. It was of him this character was given after his death: -

“The men of heaven, the men of earth,
A surrounding host,
Thought that the day of judgment
Was the Death of Seancheall.

There came not, there will not come from Adam,
One more austere, more strict in piety;
There came not, there will not come, all say it,
Another Saint more welcome to the men of heaven.”— (The Martyrology of Donegal)

From Dr. Comerford's Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin

St. Senchel of Clane and Killeigh, pray for us!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A Collect for the Feast of Saint David


As today is the feast of Saint David, patron of Wales, I have made a post at my own site on some of the Irish sources which honour him. Saint David is represented in the earliest surviving Irish Martyrologies as well as the Irish Annals and the hagiographies of some Irish saints including Saint Ailbe of Emly and Saint Molua. His own hagiographer,  Rhygyfarch, mentions a number of Irish saints, Patrick and Brendan among them. Some manuscript versions of Rhygyfarch's eleventh-century Uita Sancti Dauid also preserve some of the texts of the Mass of Saint David, something made all the more important by the fact that there are no surviving copies of pre-Reformation Welsh liturgical books. So, for all those in Ireland who celebrate the feast of Saint David, especially for the good people of Naas, County Kildare, who enjoy his patronage, here is the collect for the feast as preserved in the Vita:

O God who didst foretell thy blessed confessor and bishop, David, by the message of an angel to Patrick, prophesying thirty years before his birth: we beseech thee that by his intercession, whose memory we are keeping, we may attain to eternal joys. Through...

Silas M. Harris, Saint David in the Liturgy (Cardiff, 1940), p.14.

If you are interested in further reading on the links between the Welsh patron and the Irish I have reprinted a paper on Irish devotion to Saint David from the Irish Rosary magazine of 1921 which can be read at my own site here. An earlier post on Saint David and Naas is available at this site here.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

St. Farnan of Downings

Most Rev. Dr. Comerford, in his entry for the Parish of Caragh and Downings in his historical work on the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, gives us the following information on St. Farnan of Downings:

"Here are the ruins of an old Church, measuring, according to Father O’ Hanlon (Lives I.S.S. 2, p. 564.) 42 ½ feet by 16. Tradition states that this Church occupies the site of the cell of St. Farnan, whose feast occurs in the Irish Calendar on the 15th of February. This Saint flourished in the sixth century, and was descended from King Niall of the Nine Hostages. Beside the ancient cemetery is the Well of St. Farnan; and it possesses - so the local story goes - the valuable property, imparted to it by the blessing of the Saint, that those who drank of it never afterwards have any relish for intoxicating drinks. The Dun from which this place probably takes its name (Dooneens, “the little fort,”) may still be seen a short distance from the village of Prosperous, on the left of the road to Caragh. The only doubt about its being so arises from the fact that, instead of being small, it, on the contrary, is one of considerable dimensions."

St. Farnan of Downings, pray for us!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

St. Brigid of Kildare (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xlviii, at p. 483-6:

St Brigid the foundress of Kildare and the patroness of the church of Ireland was descended of an illustrious family of Lein ster Her father Dubhtach was of royal blood being of the race of Eochad brother to the celebrated Con of the hundred battles Her mother Brocessa was of the noble house of O Connor in the southern part of the territory of the Bregii between Dublin and Drogheda Both were Christians according to the most creditable account The mother of the holy virgin is everywhere spoken of as the wife of Dubhtach and consequently it cannot be admitted that St Brigid was of illegitimate birth Her father is represented as a noble and pious man still more noble through his spouse and their holy offspring Dubhtachus ejus erat genitor cognomine dictus clarus h omo meritis clarus et a proavis Nobilis atque humilis mitis pietate re pletus Nobilior propria conjuge prole pia Nor could such an assertion be reconciled with the circumstance of the parents having been Christians and strict ones as then were in Ireland nor with the rank of her mother's family Usher Ware and others have passed over the narrative of this circumstance as undeserving of notice St Brigid was born at Faugher about two miles north of Dundalk and in a district which was formerly considered a part of Ulster Various are the surmises regarding the year of her birth but it may with Usher be assigned to the year 453 Adhering to this computation she was twelve years of age or allowing her birth to have occurred in 451 the earliest assigned she was in the fourteenth year of her life when St Patrick died AD 465 neither does St Brigid in the most consistent and authentic account of St Patrick appear to have been consecrated a virgin nor to have founded a monastery during the lifetime of the apostle She may have been known to him on account of her singular sanctity conspicuous even in her early life In the tripartite life of St Patrick mention is made only once of St Brigid when it relates that the saint listening to a sermon of St Patrick's fell asleep and was favored with a vision relative to the then state of the Irish church and its future vicissitudes St Patrick desiring her to tell what she saw Brigid informed him that she at first saw a herd of white oxen amidst white crops then spotted ones of various colours after which appeared black and dark coloured oxen these were succeeded by sheep and swine wolves and dogs jarring with each other The Almighty conceals from the wise and imparts to the little ones in whom there is no guile the secrets of his ways and while the scribes and pharisees and the other enemies of our Redeemer were contriving plans to ensnare the Son of God and put him to death the children of Juda received him in triumph exclaiming Hosanna to the Son of David In the narrative then of this vision there is nothing repugnant to the councils of God Our patroness received a good education and to singular modesty and propriety of manners united an extraordinary degree of charity towards the poor Instances are related of the interposition of Providence in replenishing the store which she applied to her benevolent purposes When arrived at a proper age her parents were anxious to have her settled in the married state but she announced her resolve to remain a virgin to which they assented She then applied to the holy bishop St Maccailleus who being well assured of her good disposition admitted her into the number of sacred virgins by covering her with a white cloak and placing a white veil over her head This occurrence is said to have taken place at Usny hill Westmeath where probably the holy bishop resided or was engaged in the exercise of his pastoral functions St Brigid must have been then in the sixteenth year of her age as that was the earliest at which the ceremony of admission was permitted We are assured that when kneeling at the foot of the altar during the time of her profession the part on which she knelt being of wood recovered its original freshness and continued green to a very late period It is also related that seven or eight other virgins assumed the veil with her and that some of them together with their parents besought her to remain with them in their country a wish with which she complied and being named to govern her companions by the bishop she remained for some time in a place which the bishop assigned them in his district supposed to have been about Kilbeggan in Westmeath In her new position the fame of her sanctity spread far and near and crowds of young women and widows applied to her for admission into her convent As it would be inconvenient to assemble so many persons in one place and as the good of the church required that those pious ladies should be established in other districts and of which they might have been natives we find St Brigid visited other parts of the country Teffia of which St Mel was bishop having been the first Ere the bishop of Slane was one of her friends whom she is said to have accompanied to Munster when paying a visit to his relatives as he was of that country A synod having been held in the plain of Femyn Ere spoke highly of St Brigid and of the miraculous powers with which she was endowed by the Almighty Thence she is said to have gone with her female companions to the house of a person with whom she spent a considerable time and who lived near the sea In those early days of the church of Ireland before the erection of nunneries virgins consecrated to God were wont to live with their friends and relatives and could as often as duty required appear their virtue and sanctity being as Fleury observes their cloister We next find her in the plain of Cliach in the county of Limerick where she obtained it is said from a chieftain liberty for a man whom he held in chains From that country she went to the territory of Labrathi Hy Kinsellagh in south Leinster and tarried there for some time having not seen her father for several years she thence proceeded to his residence to pay him a visit and after a short stay set out for Connaught and fixed her residence together with some ladies of her institution in the plain of Magh ai or Hai in the level country of Roscommon While in this territory she was occupied in forming various establishments for persons of her own sex according to the rule she had drawn up As the great reputation of St Brigid and the supernatural gifts with which she was endowed attracted persons from all parts of Ireland to the place of her residence the people of Leinster thought that they were best entitled to her services as being of a Leinster family they accordingly sent a deputation to the part of Connaught where she then was consisting of several respectable persons and friends of hers to request that she would come and fix her residence among her own people she acceded to their wishes and having arrived in that district was received with the greatest joy she was immediately provided with a residence for herself and the pious companions of her journeys and to which was annexed some land as a help towards the mainten ance of her establishment this place obtained the name of Kildare there being a large oak tree near her habitation St Brigid and her nuns were poor and frequently alms were brought to her nunnery still whatever she possessed she liberally shared with the poor and it is said that in order to find relief for the destitute she gave in charity some very valuable vestments the bishops used to wear on solemn festivals to strangers and particularly bishops and religious persons she was particularly hospitable her humility was so great that she occasionally tended the cattle on her land The establishment at Kildare being resorted to from all quarters it became necessary to enlarge the buildings in proportion to the number of her nuns and postulants as well as provide for the spiritual direction and assistance both for the institution itself and its frequent visitors And knowing that such an advantage could not be efficiently supplied without a bishop she applied and procured the appointment of a holy man to preside over the nascent church of Kildare and the others belonging to her institute Some privilege of this sort existed in the days of Cogitosus as Kildare was the ecclesiastical metropolis of Leinster This is perhaps one of the earliest instances of religious being exempted from the jurisdiction of the ordinary or the bishop of the district in which such houses were situated Conlaeth was the person whom St Brigid recommended as worthy of being raised to the exalted dignity of bishop In his transit to the other life St Conlaeth bishop of Kildare preceded the holy foundress having died on the 3d of May 519 The nunnery of Kildare was founded about the year 487 St Brigid died on the 1st of February 525 as St Columbkille is said to have been born four years prior to the death of our national patroness AD 521

Sunday, 29 January 2017

St. Blath of Kildare

Among the several daughters of St. Brigid renowned for sanctity stands St. Blath (orse St. Flora) of Kildare. St. Blath is commemorated, if she is remembered at all, on 29th January. She was a lay-sister in the Convent of Kildare founded by St. Brigid.

As cook of the Convent, she earned a reputation not only for her heroic sanctity and her personal devotion to her foundress but also for her cooking. It is said that, under the care of St. Blath, the bread and bacon at St. Brigid's table were better than a banquet elsewhere.

She is recorded as having been born to heaven in the year 523, about two years before the death of the great St. Brigid.

At the risk of a pun or an anachronism, it might be said that St. Blath was the Little Flower of Kildare.

St. Blath of Kildare, pray for us!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

St. Aedh of Kildare

The life of King Aedh Dubh (Hugh the Black) of Leinster is to be found both in the Annals of the Four Masters and the Annals of Ulster. His name, under the latinized form of Aidus, is to be found in several martyrologies.

His hair colour, rather than any misdeeds, is the source of his designation 'the black'. This distinguishes him from King Aedh Finn of Ossory, Hugh the Fair, on account of his hair colouring - although his deeds were high and holy too.

The great ecclesiastical historian Colgan recounts King Aedh's abdication about the year 591, whereupon he entered the monastery of Kildare for the remaining forty-eight years of his life.

He went on to become Abbot of Kildare and, from 630 to his death in 638 or 639, he was Bishop of Kildare. c.f. Colgan's Trias Thaumaturga, and the Secunda Vita S. Brigidae, cap. xxxv, ps. 523-4. This is a point of singular interest. Some writers ascribe to St. Conleth, and to the Bishops of Kildare after him, a joint role as Bishop-Abbot. However, St. Aedh is the first of the Bishops of Kildare who is recorded as having held both posts.

O'Donovan, in his Annals of the Four Masters vol. i, pps 256-7 gives the year of St. Aedh's death as 638. Colgan gives his feast day as 4th January and prefers the latter year for his birth to Heaven.

St. Aedh of Kildare, pray for us!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

St. Evin of Monasterevin

St. Abban is said to have preceded St. Evin in this locality, and to have established a church, if not also a monastic house in it. St. Evin-sometimes styled Emin-an, i.e., "Little Evin," and sometimes Beccan, which means "Little"-of the royal blood of Munster, brother to St. Cormac and two other saints, (1) - if he did not himself found the monastery, at least he colonized it by bringing thither a large number of monks from his native province. Hence the place, the previous name of which was Ros-glas ("the green wood"), came to be called Ros-glas-na-Moimneach, or "Ros-glas of the Munstermen."

Colgan thus writes of this saint:-"St Emin, who is also corruptly called Evinus, betook himself to Leinster, and at the bank of the river Barrow, . . . he raised a noble monastery, called in that age, Rosglas, and which, from the number of monks who followed the man of God from his own country of Munster, who were most holily governed by him there, began to be called Rosglas na-miamhneach, i.e., of the Momonians, and in process of time grew up into a large and formerly flourishing town. There the holy man was famous for many and great miracles, and that monastery, on account of the reverence paid to its first founder, stood in so great a veneration with posterity, that it was held a most safe sanctuary, and nobody presumed to offer violence or injury to the holy place who did not soon suffer the severity of the Divine vengeance. For the holy man is said to have obtained from God that none of the Lagenians, who should, with violent audacity, taste meat or drink in his sanctuary, or offer any other violence, would live beyond the ninth day afterwards. It was also said that after his death there was a bell belonging to this saint, which was called Bearnan Emhin, and was held in so great veneration that posterity, especially those sprung from the seed of Eugenius, his father, were accustomed to swear on it as a kind of inviolable oath, and conclude controversies by the virtue of the oath. It was in defence of this town that the famous battle of Bealach-Mughna (Ballymoon), in the plain of the country of Hy-drona, commonly called Maghailbhe, was fought, in which the Momonian invaders suffered great disaster, their King, Cormac-mac-Culenan, being slain."

In the Life of St. Clonfert Molua we read of that Saint visiting the Abbot St. Evin in his monastery, not far from the Barrow, which the most holy old man, Abban, had founded:-"S. Molua visitavit S. Evinum abbatem non longe a flumine Berbha in monasterio quod sanctissimus senex Abbanus fundavit, habitantem." The following passage from the Book of Ballymote, 270, a, (kindly translated from the Irish, by Mr. W.M. Hennessy) refers to this monastery:-

Emin-an, son of Eoghan, son of Murchadh, son of Muiredach, son of Diarmait, son of Eoghan, son of Ailill Flann-beg. Ros-glaise, moreover, was his foundation-place. On the brink of the Barrow the church is. And it was he that left [word] with the Lagenians, that he would not preserve for a moment alive the laic who would taste meat or butter or cold milk in his church-i.e. in Ros-glaise of the Munstermen.

And it is contending for this place the battle of Ballaghmoon, in Moy-ailbhe in Idrone, was given [fought]; and in it was slain Cormac MacCuilennan. Of which Cormac said:-

"About Ros-glaisne we shall give
The battle, since we cannot help it.
By Fiach (2) shall fall a King, on account of the ‘Ros.’
'Twill be sad, be true, be manifest."

The "swearing relic" of the Race of Eoghan is the Bernan Emin; and it is a miraculous breo, ("flame".)

The year of St. Evin’s death has not been recorded; Colgan, in Trias Thaum., states that it took place during the reign of Brandubh, King of Leinster, who was killed in the battle of Slaibhre, in A.D. 601 (or 604, according to the Annals of Ulster), after a reign of 30 years. O’ Curry and other reliable authorities, however, assign reasons for believing that our saint flourished at an earlier period, that he was a contemporary of St. Patrick, though only as a youth, and that his death occurred very early in the sixth century. We may justly conclude that he died on the 22nd of December, as our calendars mark his feast on that day. The Martyrology of Tallaght at that date has the entry: "Emini Rois glaissi," i.e., Emhin, or Evin of Rosglas; and the Mart. Donegal, at same date, has "Emin, Bishop of Rosglas, in Leinster, to the west of Cill-dara, on the brink of the Bearbha. Jamhnat, daughter of Sinell, was his mother. Eimhin was the son of Eoghan, etc. He was the brother of Cormac, son of Eoghan, as stated in the Life of the same Cormac." St. Evin was the author of the Life of St. Patrick called the Tripartite, published by Colgan, from which Joceline, who wrote a Life of our Apostle early in the twelfth century, acknowledges that he derived much help. This work is written partly in Latin and partly in Irish. Of this Life, Dr. Lanigan says that it contains a much greater variety of details concerning the Saint’s proceedings during his mission in Ireland than any other of his Lives. St. Evin also wrote the Life of St. Congall, the famous Abbot and Founder of the Monastery of Bangor, out of which Colgan cites some particular passages. (Harris’s Ware.)

Toimdenach, brother of St. Abban, was Abbot of Rosglas (Leabhar Breac), and Dubhan, another brother is said to have been a member of the same community; the feast of the former was celebrated on the 12th of June, and that of the latter on the11th of November.

Itharnaise is another saint whom we find connected with St. Evin and his monastery, and whose memory was celebrated on the same day, the 22nd of December. The Feilire of Aengus, at that day, has the invocation:- "May (Ultan) the Silent’s prayer protect us! Itharnaisc who spoke not, who was with pure Emine from the brink of the dumb Barrow." These two saints, Ultan and Itharnaisc, were chiefly identified with Clane, County of Kildare; they were brothers of St. Maighend, Abbot of Kilmainham, and sons of Aed, son of Colcan, King of Oirghallia. Aed himself became a monk, and died in 606.

A St. Cronan, whose feast is calendared at the 10th of Feb., is also identified with this monastery. The Feilire of Aengus thus refers to him:-"Fair star, offspring of victory, glowing mass-gold, bright pillar, Cronan holy, without reproach, white sun of Glais-Mar!" To which the scholiast in the Leabhar Breac adds:- "Cronan the chaste, without reproach, i.e., in Ros Glaise," etc.

A manuscript volume in the Irish language, preserved in the Royal Irish Academy, - MSS. 23, P.3,-contains a most interesting prose tract entitled the Cain Emine (Emine’s Tribute or Rule), and also a poem, which may be called The Lay of the Bell of St. Emine. O’ Curry, in his descriptive catalogue, states his opinion that the prose tract is certainly as old as the year 800; but that the poem was not written till long after.

From the entry on the Parish of Monasterevin in Most Rev. Dr. Comerford's History of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin (1883).

St. Evin of Monasterevin, pray for us that we may be granted all the graces of Christmas and Christmastide!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Tour the Historical Sites of the Order of St. John with MedSeas Catholic Journeys

A fellow knight of the Order of Malta has put together a wonderful tour of the former Knights of St. John sites of Rhodes and Crete. He is a professional tour operator, MedSeas Catholic Journeys, who has taken groups to Malta, the Camino de Santiago in Spain and Portugal, and a Saints, Knights and Wine tour in Italy. This promises to be a spectacular trip and I hope you will consider joining us next September, 2017. Visit the MedSeas website for more information and a detailed itinerary.






Rhodes – The Island of Sun: Discover Rhodes, surrounded by clear blue waters, it’s a land of ancient temples, castles and fortresses, all part of the rich history dating back to the Neolithic era. We will experience its ravishing coastlines, dramatic mountain scapes, classic small villages and historic monuments especially sites linked to the Knights of St. John.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Carlow Cathedral for the Year of Mercy

On Ember Saturday, 24th September, members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association made a pilgrimage to Carlow Cathedral.  Accounts of previous pilgrimages can be found here: 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2013, 2012, 2011.






Monday, 11 July 2016

The Bishops of Kildare and Leighlin in the Early Modern Period


The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xvii, at p. 149 and following:

Roche Mac Geoghegan was bishop in 1640.

Roche Mac Geoghegan it seems presided over Kildare and Leighlin in 1640.

Edmond O'Dempsey bishop of Leighlin in 1646 signed the manifesto issued at Waterford against those who had assisted in restoring peace to the country. Edmond was a Dominican friar. He was forced to go into exile and died in Finisterra in the kingdom of Gallicia. His brother James O'Dempsey was vicar general of Leighlin in 1646.

Edward Wesley was bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in 1685.

Mark Forestal was bishop in 1701.

Edward Murphy, bishop in 1724.

James Gallagher, bishop in 1747.

John O Keeffe, bishop in 1770. James Keeffe, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, died 1786.

Richard O'Reilly, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, or rather coadjutor, was translated to Armagh in 1782.

Daniel Delany, died AD 1814.

Michael Corcoran, bishop in 1819.

James Doyle, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, was born in New Ross, county Wexford, in 1786. He was sent by his parents to the best schools and having as he grew up manifested a desire to embrace the priesthood he repaired to Portugal where he was trained for the ecclesiastical state. While yet a student in Coimbra, Portugal was invaded by Napoleon and Doctor Doyle and his fellow students enlisted under the banner of the country which they temporarily adopted and were of considerable assistance to the Duke of Wellington in his wars of the Peninsula.

Surrounded by the influences of his college life, the disciples or admirers of Rousseau, D'Alembert and Voltaire, he was well nigh making a wreck of that faith in which he was born and of that morality which is its concomitant but, as he himself admits, when everything conspired to induce him to shake off the sweet yoke of the gospel, the dignity of religion her majesty and grandeur arrested him in his career towards unbelief and filled him with awe and veneration towards her precepts. Everywhere she presided her ardent votaries while a terror to the enemies of revelation glorified and adorned religion when she alone swayed their hearts he read with attention the history of the ancient philosophers as well as lawgivers and discovered that all of them paid homage to religion as the purest emanation of the one supreme and invisible and omnipotent God. He examined the systems of religion prevailing in the east, the koran with attention, the Jewish history and that of Christ his disciples and of his Church with interest, nor did he hesitate to continue attached to the religion of the Redeemer as alone worthy of God and, being a Christian, he could not fail to be a Catholic.

Shortly after the retreat of the French from Portugal and Spain in 1812, Doctor Doyle returned to Ireland and became professor in the Ecclesiastical College in Carlow. In this capacity his acquirements won him the admiration of his fellow professors and his mild manner gained him the esteem of the students. As a preacher he was learned fluent argumentative and persuasive, every one who listened to his discourses should admire religion, its ceremonies and its mysteries. Having spent five years in the college he was at the unanimous request of the clergy of the diocese promoted at the age of thirty two years, by his holiness the Pope, to the bishopric of Kildare and Leighlin. During his episcopacy, his life is delineated by his own pen in the following words: "I am a churchman but I am unacquainted with avarice and I feel no worldly ambition. I am attached to my profession but I love Christianity more than its earthly appendages. I am a Catholic from the fullest conviction but few will accuse me of bigotry. I am an Irishman hating injustice and abhorring with my whole soul the oppression of my country but I desire to heal her sores not to aggravate her evils."

Doctor Doyle appeared on the stage of Irish politics when the people were yet slaves and aliens in their own land unrecognised by the laws of the empire to which they paid all the obligations of subjects. Everything that emanated from his pen carried with it due weight and tended in a great degree to soften the prejudices that were fostered for centuries in Ireland. Towards the dissenters from Catholicity he showed a most tolerant spirit and at one time suggested a junction of Catholics and Protestants, a suggestion which was unwarrantable as it was made on his private authority and which the holy see could not sanction. A canon of St. Peter's church of Rome, having arrived at Carlow with instructions to Doctor Doyle, the prelate at once perceiving his mistake as another Fenelon, archbishop of Cambray, made a noble sacrifice of his own sentiments by the calmest submission to the voice of St. Peter's successor.

Doctor Doyle, in a letter to the Marquis Wellesley, has vindicated the faith of Catholics, which was so long placed under the ban of proscription by England and her rulers: "It was, my lord, the creed of a Charlemagne and of a St. Louis, of an Alfred and an Edward, of the monarchs of the feudal times as well as the emperors of Greece and Rome, it was believed at Venice and at Genoa in Lucca and the Helvetic nations in the days of their freedom and happiness. All the barons of the middle ages, all the free cities of later times, professed the religion we now profess. You well know, my lord, that the charter of British freedom and the common law of England have their origin and source in Catholic times. Who framed the free constitutions of the Spanish Goths? Who preserved science and literature during the long night of the middle ages? Who imported literature from Constantinople and opened for her an asylum at Rome, Florence, Padua, Paris and Oxford? Who polished Europe by art and refined her by legislation? Who discovered a new world and opened a passage to another? Who were the masters of architecture of painting and of music? Were they not almost exclusively the professors of our creed? Were they who created and possessed freedom under every shape and form unfit for her enjoyment? Were men deemed even now the lights of the world and the benefactors of the human race the deluded victims of slavish superstition? But what is there in our creed which renders us unfit for freedom? Is it the doctrine of passive obedience? No, for the obedience we yield to authority is not blind but reasonable. Our religion does not create despotism, it supports every established constitution which is not opposed to the laws of nature. In Poland, it supported an elective monarch, in France an hereditary sovereign, in Spain an absolute or constitutional king, in England, when the houses of York and Lancaster contended, it declared that he who was king de facto was entitled to the obedience of the people. During the reign of the Tudors there was a faithful adherence of the Catholics to their prince under trials the most severe and galling because the constitution required it. The same was exhibited by them to the ungrateful race of Stuart. But, since the expulsion foolishly called an abdication, have they not adopted with the nation at large the doctrine of the revolution that the crown is held in trust for the benefit of the people and that should the monarch violate his compact the subject is freed from the bond of his allegiance? Has there been any form of government ever devised by man to which the religion of Catholics has not been accommodated? Is there any obligation either to a prince or to a constitution which it does not enforce?"

The health of Doctor Doyle visibly declining he was recommended to resign the diocese and travel on the continent with a view of restoring it but he did not choose to adopt the advice. His end approaching and solicitous for the welfare of his flock, he entreated the holy father to provide a coadjutor bishop and the Rev Edward Nolan was elected. Doctor Doyle died the 15th of June, 1834, of consumption. He resigned his spirit with fortitude and calmness and with that hope and confidence which faith alone inspires.

Edward Nolan completed his ecclesiastical studies at Maynooth, was ordained priest by Doctor Doyle in December, 1819, and was consecrated his successor by Daniel Murray, archbishop of Dublin, on the 28th of October, 1834, in the cathedral of Carlow. The intervening years of Doctor Nolan's life were spent in the college of Carlow, where he successively taught moral and natural philosophy, theology, and sacred scriptures. Doctor Nolan died about the close of the year 1837.

Francis Healy who succeeded, was parish priest of Kilcock at the time of his election, was consecrated on the 25th of March, 1838. Still happily presides.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Latin Mass Pilgrimage to Rathangan 2016

Almost seven years after our first pilgrimage to Rathangan, which took place during the Holy Year for Priests (see here) the members and friends of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association returned for a traditional Latin Mass during the Holy Year of Mercy.



The following article was contained in the 1956 Year Book of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin: 

Rathangan Builds 
The New Church and Schools are a Credit to Ireland 

 On Sunday, 6th November, 1956, the little town of Rathangan, by the River Spate, with a proud past that can be traced back well over a thousand years, added one more page to an illustrious history of Catholic devotion. For this memorable day witnessed a twin triumphant accomplishment, the laying of the foundation stone of the new Church of the Assumption by his Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Keogh, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, and the blessing and opening of Rathangan's new schools named in honour of Saint Brigid.

Speaking with characteristic sincerity Most Rev. Dr. Keogh paid tribute to the priests, nuns, and faithful to whose devotion and self-sacrifice the new Church and Schools present so lasting a monument. "The people have dona a grand work in building their Church, the laying of the foundation stone of which symbolises that Christ and Christ's teaching should be the foundation stone of our lives."

And so, almost two hundred and fifty years from the year in which the first humble Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin was built in Rathangan, and one hundred and forty years from the founding of its successor, St. Patrick's Church, this second Church dedicated to the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady into Heaven is rearing its graceful lines to the sky.

The site upon which the new Church and Schools were destined to stand were donated by the local Order of Mercy nuns. Most Rev. Dr. Keogh visited these sites on Monday, 14th February, 1955. One week later fundamental operations were under way. Building started on May 16th. on the 6th November of 1955, the Feast of all Saints of Eire, "under the invocation also of St. Patrick," the cornerstone was solemnly blessed and laid. Already progress is well in evidence, and it seems a foregone conclusion that this beautifully planned Church will be completed well within the scheduled period of 15 to 18 months.

Designed in the Irish traditional style the Church will cost £60,000 and accommodate a congregation of four figures. One hundred and ninety feet long, sixty feet wide, and fifty two feet high, it will be graced with a belfry rising to an imposing height of one hundred and twelve feet. Its front elevation shows a dignified proportioned piece of architecture with gentle, graceful lines, the whole effect in perfect taste and symmetry.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Bishops of Kildare in the Late Middle Ages


The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xvii, at p. 146 and following:

Murechad Mac Flan comorban or successor of St Conleath died AD 985 Moel Martin died in 1028 or 1030 Mselbrigid died in 1042

Fin Mac Gussan Mac Gorman died at Achonry in 1085

Ferdomnach was bishop and resigned in 1096 Maelbrigid O Brolcan bishop of Kildare died in 1097 He was a man of great fame

Aid O Heremon died AD 1100

Ferdomnach according to Ware resumed the see and died in 1101

Mac Dongail died in 1108

Cormac O Cathsuigh called bishop of Leinster on account of the preeminence of Kildare died in the year 1146

O Dubhin died in 1148

Finian Mac Tiarcain O Gorman abbot of Newry succeeded and died at Killeigh in the year 1160 where he was buried He assisted at the council of Kells in 1152

Malachy O Byrn remarkable for his modesty When St Lawrence OToole would have sent him to dispossess a demoniac he declined alleging that he had not virtue enough to cast out a devil This prelate died on the 1st of January 1176

Nehemiah succeeded in 1177 and governed the see of Kildare about eighteen years

Cornelius Mac Gelany rector of Cloncurry and archdeacon of Kildare was elected consecrated in the year 1206 and died in 1222

Ralph of Bristol treasurer of St Patrick's Dublin was consecrated in 1223 Ralph was at great expense in repairing and beautifying his cathedral He died about the beginning of 1232 he wrote the life of St Lawrence O Toole archbishop of Dublin

John De Taunton canon of St Patrick's Dublin succeeded in 1233 sat twenty five years Died about the beginning of summer 1258 and was buried in his own church Simon De Kilkenny was canon of Kildare and elected to the see in 1258 He died at Kildare in the beginning of April 1272 After the decease of this prelate the see was vacant for some time

Nicholas Cusack a Franciscan friar and a native of Meath was de elared bishop of the see by the pope who annulled the elections of Stephen dean of Kildare and William treasurer of that church He succeeded in November 1279 In 1292 he was joined in commission with Thomas St Leger bishop of Meath to collect a disme or tenth granted by the Pope to the king for relief of the holy land The sheriffs of the kingdom were ordered to aid in the collection He died in September 1299 having sat about twenty years and was buried in his own church

Walter le Veel chancellor of Kildare succeeded in 1299 Was consecrated in 1300 in St Patrick's church Dublin He sat upwards of thirty two years He died in November 1332 and is said to have been buried in his own church

Richard Hulot succeeded in 1334 was canon and archdeacon of Kildare He died on the 24th of June 1352 in the 19th year of his consecration

Thomas Gifford chancellor of Kildare was elected by the dean and chapter in 1353 He died on the 25th of September 1365 and was buried at Kildare in the church of St Bridget

Robert de Aketon obtained the see of Kildare in 1366 Was an Augustine hermit Elected in the previous year to the see of Down but the Pope annulled the election He sat in 1367

George is said to have succeeded and to have died in 1401

Henry de Wessenberch a Franciscan friar was promoted in December 1401 by the Pope Boniface IX

Thomas who succeeded died in 1405

John Madock archdeacon of Kildare succeeded and died in 1431

William archdeacon of Kildare succeeded in 1432 by provision of Pope Eugene IV Having governed the see fourteen years he died in April 1446

Geoffry Hereford a Dominican friar was advanced in 1449 to this see by Pope Eugene IV and was consecrated on Easter Sunday He died having sat about fifteen years and was buried in his own church

Richard Lang a man of exemplary gravity and wisdom succeeded in 1464 He was strongly recommended by the dean and chapter of Armagh to Pope Sixtus IV for the see of Armagh but without success He was cited by public edict on the part of the Pope to appear and produce his title to the see of Kildare He died in possession of his see AD 1474 David succeeded and died before he got possession in 1474

James Wall a Franciscan friar and doctor of divinity was promoted on the 5th of April 1475 He died on the 28th of April 1494 and was buried in a church of Franciscans at London He resigned long before his death

William Barret succeeded He must have resigned as he was vicar to the bishop of Clermont France in 1493

Edmund Lane succeeded in 1482 and died about the end of 1522 and was buried in his own church to which he was a benefactor He founded a college at Kildare in which the dean and chapter might live in a collegiate manner He sat in this see upwards of forty years He was entrapped into the mock coronation of Lambert Simnel He afterwards obtained a pardon In 1494 he assisted at a provincial synod held in Christ church by Walter Fitzsimon archbishop of Dublin

Thomas Dillon a native of Meath and an alumnus of Oxford was promoted to this see in 1523 and died in 1531 having presided about eight years

Peter Stole a master of sacred theology was provided by Clement VII on the 15th March 1529

Walter Wellesley a canon regular prior of Conal in the county of Kildare obtained the see in 1531 by provision of Pope Clement VII He died in 1539 and was buried in his own convent King Henry VIII endeavored to advance him to the see of Limerick ten years before this but without avail as the Pope was unwilling

Donald O Beachan a Franciscan friar of the Kildare convent succeeded on the 16th of July 1540 He died in a few days after

On the 15th of November 1541 succeeded by provision of the Pope Thady Reynolds a doctor of the civil and canon law One of Henry VIII's intruders was advanced to the see on the election of bishop Reynolds

Thomas Leverous a native of the county of Kildare and dean of St Patrick's Dublin was appointed by Queen Mary in March 1554 and was confirmed the year following by the Pope's bull. In January 1559 he was deprived by the government for refusing to take the oath of supremacy. After this he obtained a livelihood by teaching school in Limerick. He died at Naas in 1577 in the 80th year of his age.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Graiguenamanagh Abbey (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xlix, at p. 493:

Graignemanach Vale of St Saviour AD 1204 was founded this abbey for Cistercians under the invocation of the Mother of God by William Mareschal earl of Pembroke AD 1225 William junior confirmed the donations in land of his father to this abbey AD 1330 Richard O Nolan was besieged in the steeple of this abbey and was compelled to deliver his son as a hostage for his future good conduct AD 1380 It was enacted by parliament that no mere Irishman should make profession in this abbey AD 1524 Charles O Cavanagh the abbot made a present to the abbey of a beautiful cross of silver richly gilt and adorned with precious stones he also purchased for the monastery several rich vestments and attended the Lateran council held in 1515 and 1516 as vicar general to the bishop of Leighlin AD 1537 a pension of 10 annually was granted to the last abbot Charles Mac Murrough O Cavenagh By an inquisition held in the ninth year of Elizabeth this abbey was found to possess six hundred and twenty acres of arable and pasture land eight townlands and eleven rectories with the tithes and alterages of the same The properties of this abbey were granted by patent to Sir Edward Butler of Lowgrange and to James Butler junior at the annual rent of £41 Irish

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Saint Natfrioch of Kildare

Saint Natfrioch of Kildare

A monastery for the canons of St. Augustine was founded at Kildare, of which St. Natfrioch is said to have been the first Abbot – he was the Priest who attended the institution of St. Brigid before the appointment of its first Bishop – he is spoken of as the companion of St. Brigid, and to have remained with her all his life, notwithstanding the superintendence of Conlaeth, and it is also stated that he was wont to read in the refectory while the nuns were at their meals.

P. 486, Ecclesiastical History of Ireland by Rev. Thomas Walsh

Saint Natfrioch of Kildare, pray for us!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Clonkeen (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter lviii, at p. 618:

Cluanchaoin not far distant from Clonenagh The following saints are recorded as bishops in this place St Fintan a holy anchorite who died AD 860 Aromeus or Aaron whose festival is held on the 1st of August

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Timahoe (Walsh)

The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter lviii, at p. 621:

Timahoe in the barony of Cullinagh and south of Stradbally anciently called Teagh mochoe from the founder Archdall would lead us to think that St Mochoe of Antrim was the founder who does not seem to have any establishment beyond the confines of Ulster As there were other saints of this name it must have been erected in some time posterior to the age of the Antrim saint who died in 497 AD 925 died the abbot Moyle Kevin He is the first abbot whose name is recorded AD 931 died the abbot Cosgrach AD 951 died Gormgall prelector of this abbey AD 969 died the abbot Finghen O Fiachrach AD 1001 died the abbot Conaing O Fiachra AD 1007 died the abbot Fensneachta O Fiachra AD 1142 the abbey was burned A round tower in fine preservation as well as some of the monastic ruins are still to be seen The doorway of this tower is the finest of the kind remaining in Ireland has some things in its style peculiar to the round tower of Kildare The doorway is formed of a hard siliceous sandstone It consists of two divisions separated from each other by a deep reveal and presenting each a double compound recessed arch resting on plain shafts with flat capitals the carving is all in very low relief its height is fifteen feet from the ground The capitals of the shafts are decorated with human heads and the bases which are in better preservation than the capitals present at their alternate eastern angles a similar human head and at their alternate western angles a figure not unlike an hour glass The measurement of the shafts of the external arch including the bases and capitals is five feet eight inches the breadth at the spring of the arch is three feet nine inches and at the base four feet and the entire height of the arch is seven feet six inches

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Bishops of Kildare in the Early Middle Ages


The following is from Fr. Thomas Walsh's History of the Irish Hierarchy, published in New York in 1854, chapter xvii, at p. 144 and following:

The see of Kildare seems indebted for its foundation to the celebrated nunnery established by St. Bridget in this place. The sanctity of this holy virgin and the excellence of her institute attracted hither vast multitudes so that it became very extensive and, in time, Kildare became a large and populous town. Hence arose a necessity for episcopal functions and thus St. Bridget was induced to make application for the appointment of a bishop. Her request was listened to and Conlaeth a person of retirement and sanctity was selected. He led for many years an ascetic life in a solitary spot on the banks of the Liffey. Conlaeth was consecrated about the year 490 and it would appear that this ceremony was conducted with more than usual magnificence as it was attended by many of the ancient and sainted fathers of the Irish Church.

Fiech, the bishop of Sletty, Ibar of Begerin, Erck of Slane, Maccaleus of Hy Falgia in the King's County and Bron of Caissel Iorra in Sligo and other prelates attended on this solemn occasion.

St. Conlaeth governed his see with great wisdom and during his incumbency the diocese of Kildare obtained a high rank among the sees of Ireland. It was not however the ecclesiastical metropolis of the province nor was its prelate recognized as an archbishop. Whatever preeminence existed in the province it pertained without doubt to the see of Sletty. Kildare enjoying this dignity at a later period when it was transferred from the see of Ferns in the 8th century. The cathedral of Kildare the most extensive and beautiful in the kingdom except that of Armagh belonged conjointly to the Nunnery of St Bridget and to the ordinary of the diocese.

Beyond the sanctuary the great aisle was divided by a partition. The bishop and his clergy entered the church by a door on the north side the abbess and her nuns entered by the south. St. Conlaeth, after a life of zeal and apostolical labors died the 3d of May 519. The names of his successors in the see of Kildare have been carefully handed down in an unbroken series until the year 1100 in which Aid O'Heremon became its bishop. St. Conlaeth was buried in the church of Kildare near the high altar. His bones or relics were AD 800 translated into a sliver gilt shrine and adorned with precious stones.

St Aid the black who, according to Colgan, from being king of Leinster became monk abbot and bishop of Kildare, died on the 10th of May 638. The annals of the Four Masters place the death of Aid abbot and bishop of Kildare in 638. It is probable that this abbot and bishop was only a member of the royal house of Leinster.

Lochen the Silent commonly called wise and styled abbot of Kildare. His memory is celebrated on the 12th of January and his death is mentioned under 694. Of him and his successor and others are doubts regarding their consecration as the annals of the Four Masters call them only abbots of Kildare. Sometimes the terms abbots and bishops are synonymous.

Farannan, whose death is mentioned in the year 697, his memory is kept on the 15th of January.

Maeldaborcon expressly styled bishop of Kildare died on the 19th of February 708.

Tola, a worthy soldier of Chris,t a bishop is omitted by Colgan. He died on the 3d of March 732.

Dima called also Modimoe was abbot of Kildare and Clonard. He died on the 3d of March 743.

Cathal O Farannan mentioned as abbot of Kildare died AD 747.

Lomtuil expressly called bishop of Kildare died AD 785.

Snedbran also called bishop of Kildare died in the same year.

Muredach O'Cathald abbot of Kildare died the same year.

Eudocius O'Diocholla abbot of Kildare died in 793.

Feolan O'Kellach abbot of Kildare died in May or June 799.

Lactan O Muctigern expressly called bishop of Kildare died in 813.

Murtogh O Kellagh abbot of Kildare died 820.

Sedulius abbot died in 828.

Tuadcar expressly called bishop of Kildare died AD 833.

Orthanac also bishop of Kildare died in 840.

Aedgene surnamed Brito, scribe, bishop and anchoret of Kildare, died AD 862 in the 116th year of his age.

Cohbtach O Muredach abbot of Kildare and a man of singular wisdom died in 868. Colgan says his festival is observed on the 18th of July.

Moengal bishop of Kildare died in 870. Lanigan puts Moengal as the successor of Aedgen

Robertac Mac Niserda bishop of Kildare, scribe and abbot of Achonry, died on the 15th of January 874.

Lasran Mac Moctigern bishop of Kildare, abbot of Fearna, died the same year.

Suibne O Finacta died in 880.

Seannal died in 884.

Largisius was slain in battle by the Danes of Dublin in 885.

Flanagan O Riagan called abbot of Kildare and prince of Leinster died in the year 920.

Crunmoel died on the 11th of December 929.

Malfinan died in 949 or 950.

Culian Mac Kellach abbot said to be slain by the Danes in 853.

Mured Mac Foelan of the royal blood of Leinster abbot of Kildare was slain by Amlave prince of the Danes and Kerbhal Mac Lorcan in 965.

Anmcaid bishop of Kildare died in 981 having spent a holy life to a good old age.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Traditional Latin Mass in Longford Cathedral

For the 40th Anniversary of the death of Bishop James Joseph McNamee, who had been Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise from 1927 to his death on 24th April, 1966, our Association was granted the singular privilege by Bishop Francis Duffy, his successor as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise of organising a Traditional Latin Mass in the newly refurbished Longford Cathedral celebrated by Bishop Colm O'Reilly, another of Bishop McNamee's successor's as Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. On Sunday, 24th April, 2016, members and friends of the Catholic Heritage Association gathered to pray for the soul of one of the most liturgically conscious of Ireland's Bishops of the mid-20th Century, who had attended the first three Sessions of the Second Vatican Council.










Monday, 18 April 2016

St. Laserian of Leighlin

About a century after Ss. Brigid and Conleth Patrons of Kildare lived St. Laserian or Molaise Patron of Leighlin. Today is the 1,371st (or 1,372nd) anniversary of his birth to heaven.

Revd. Fr. Lanigan, D.D., in his An Ecclesiastical History of Ireland, Vol. II, p. 402 ff., 1829 Ed., states:

St. Laserian, the other great supporter of the new Paschal computation, was, it is said, (57) son of Cairel a nobleman of Ulster and of Gemma daughter of Aiden king of the British Scots. (58) The year of his birth is not known (59); and the early part of his life is involved in obscurity. According to one account he was a disciple of Fintau Munnu, while another places him under an abbot Murin. (60) When arrived at a mature age, he is said to have proceeded to Rome, and to have remained there for 14 years. (6l) Then we are told that he was ordained priest by Pope Gregory the great, and soon after returned to Ireland. Coming to Leighlin (Old Leighlin) he was most kindly received by St. Gobban, who there governed a monastery. This saint conceived such a high opinion of Laserian that he gave up to him his establishment, and went to erect a monastery elsewhere. (62) Laserian is said to have had 150O monks under him at Leighlin. (63) About the year 63O he went again to Rome, probably as chief of the deputation sent by the heads of the Southern clergy after the synod of Maghlene, (64) and was there consecrated bishop by the then Pope, Honorius I. (65) After his return to Ireland, in or about 633, he greatly contributed towards the final settlement of the Paschal question in the South, (66) which he survived only a few years, having died in 639 (67) on the 18th of April. This saint was buried in his own church at Leighlin, and his memory has been greatly revered in the province of Leinster. (68)

(57) The Bollandists have (at 18 April) a Life of Laserian or Lasrean, which, they say, was written after the year 1100. They jiv.tly observe, that it is a confused tract and often not worthy of credit. He is sometimes called Molossius or Molaissus, latinized from Mo and Laisre his real name, in the same manner as his nanlesake of Devcnish was so called, with whom he must not (as has been done by Hanmer, p. 123, new ed.) be confounded. (See Not. 124 to Chap, xn.)
(58) Ware (Antiq. cap. 29. and Bishops at Leighlin) says, that Laserian was son of Cairel de Blitha. Harris (Bishops) translates by Blitha; and perhaps this was Ware's meaning; for his account of this saint differs in many respects from that of the Life published by the Bollandists. For instance, according to Ware, his mother was daughter of a king of the Picts.
(59) The Bollandists supposed, (Comment. praev.) but without any authority, that he was born about 566. This conjecture is connected with a huge mistake of theirs, of which lower down, in stating that Fintan Munnu was then a monk in Hy.
(60) The Bollandist Life makes Fintan his master. But it is probable that Laserian was nearly as old as Fintan, who was young at the time of Columbkill's death in 597. In the account of the contest between them at Whitefield there is no allusion to this discipleship. According to Ware, Laserian studied under Murin, until he set out for Rome. Who this Murin was Ware does not tell us. He could not have been St. Murus of Fahen, (in Donegal!) who flourished about the middle of the seventh century. Perhaps the person meant by the name of Murin was Murgenius abbot of Glean-Ussen ; (see Chap. xiv. §. 11.) and there is reason to think, that Laserian studied rather in the South, where the clergy were inclined to receive the Roman cycle, than in the North where it was violently opposed.
(61) Ware agrees with the Life as to these 14 years spent at Rome. The Bollandists think that, instead of fourteen, we ought to read four.
(62) Colgan was of opinion (AA. SS. p. 750) that this was the Gobban who governed a church at [Kill-Lamhraighea, a place in the West of Ossory, viz. after having left Leighlin, and who was buried at Clonenagh. Archdall (at Leighlin) refers to Colgan and Usher as if placing the death of Gobban in 639, although Usher says nothing about him, nor does Colgan even mention his name in the page referred to.
(63) See Not. 36.
(64) Ib. I wish the account of Laserian's having been at Rome in the time of Gregory the Great were as well founded as that of his mission thither after the synod of Magh-lene.
(65) Usher, p. 938. Ware, Antiq. cap. 29.
(66) See Not. 36.
(67) Annals of Innisfallen. (68) Ware, loc. cit.

Revd. Fr. Walsh, in his History of the Irish Hierarchy, p. 149 ff., 1854 Ed., writes:

"In the year 616, St. Gobhan founded a celebrated abbey at old Leighlin. About the year 630, a synod of the clergy was held in St. Gobhan's abbey, to debate on the proper time for the celebration of Easter, which was attended by most of the superiors of all the religious houses in Ireland. In 632, St. Gobhan, entertaining a high opinion of Laserian, who supported the Roman custom of celebrating Easter, gave him up his abbey at old Leighlin, and went elsewhere to found another. He is said to have ruled over fifteen hundred monks; they supported themselves by manual labor; and by reason of their numbers and the fertile district in which they had been situated, were enabled to receive a greater complement of students and inmates than many of the other institutions of the country. The schools of old Leighlin held a high rank among the literary establishments of Ireland, in the 7th century. The fame which it acquired in foreign countries, as well as in Ireland, attracted such numbers of students and of religious persons to its halls, that old Leighlin soon became a town of great note, and the surrounding district was usually called the territory of saints and scholars.

"St. Laserian, the first bishop and founder of this see, was the son of Cairel, a nobleman of Ulster, and of Gemma, daughter of Aiden, king of the British Scots. The time of his birth is unknown, and the early portion of his life is involved in obscurity. By some he is said to have been the disciple of Fintan Munnu, and by another account to have been instructed by an abbot Murin.

"Having arrived at maturity, he is said to have travelled to Rome, and there sojourned fourteen years —ordained priest by Gregory the Great, and to have returned shortly after to Ireland. Having been sent to Rome about 630, probably as head of the deputation from the southern clergy after the synod of old Leighlin, he was consecrated bishop by Pope Honorius I., and made legate of Ireland. Having returned to Ireland he founded the see, A.D. 632, and previously to his death, which occurred on the 18th of April, 639, he was a chief instrument in finally settling the question of the Easter controversy, in the south of Ireland. In the same year died St. Gohhan, founder of the abbey."

Revd. Fr. Alban Butler, in his The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints, Vol. IV, p. 176 ff., 1866 Ed., tells us:

"Laserian was son of Cairel and Blitha, persons of great distinction, who intrusted his education, from his infancy, to the Abbot St. Murin. He afterwards travelled to Rome in the days of Pope Gregory the Great, by whom he is said to have been ordained priest. Soon after his return to Ireland, he visited Leighlin, a place situated a mile and a half westward of the river Barrow, where St. Goban was then abbot, who, resigning to him his abbacy, built a little cell for himself and a small number of monks. A great synod being soon after assembled there, in the White Fields, St. Laserian strenuously maintained the Catholic time of celebrating Easter against St. Munnu. This council was held in March 630. But St. Laserian not being able to satisfy in it all his opponents, took another journey to Rome, where Pope Honorius ordained him bishop, without allotting him any particular see, and made him his legate in Ireland. Nor was his commission fruitless: for, after his return, the time of observing Easter was reformed in the south parts of Ireland. St. Laserian died on the 18th of April, 638, and was buried in his own church which he had founded. In a synod held at Dublin, in 1330, the feasts of St. Patrick, St Laserian, St. Bridget, St. Canic, and St. Edan, are enumerated among the double festivals through the province of Dublin. St. Laserian was the first bishop of Old Leighlin, now a village.— New Leighlin stands on the eastern bank of the river Barrow See Ware, p. 54, and Colgan's MSS. on the 18th of April."

St. Laserian of Leighlin pray for us!