St. Daig Maccairill, Bishop of Iniscaoin-Deghadh(of Iniskin)
Feastday: August 18
Died c. 560. Son of Cayrill, Daig was a disciple of Saint Finian. As Irish bishop of Iniskin (Inis Cain Dega) he founded and governed a
monastery. The Book of Leinster makes him "one of the Three Master Craftsmen of Ireland." (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia).
Troparion of St Daga tone 6
O Daga thou Hierarch beloved by thy flock,/ thou didst raise Saint
Cairlon of Cashel to life/ and thy piety enlightened Ireland./ Pray to
Christ our God for us all.
St. Darerca Feastday March 21 5th century.
Saint Darerca is believed to have been the sister of Saint Patrick of Ireland and the mother of fifteen sons, some of which became saints. Her name is derived from the Irish "Diar-Sheare," which means constant and firm love. (Benedictines, Montague).
(Dardulacha, Derlugdach) of Kildare, Abbess and Virgin
Fesatday: February 1
Died after 525. Successor of Saint Brigid of Kildare as abbess of that convent (Benedictines).
St. Dichu of Ulster
Feastday: April 29
5th century. Dichu, son of an Ulster chieftain and a swineherd in his youth, succeeded to the kingdom of Lecale in County Down, Ireland, and bitterly opposed Saint Patrick (f.d. March 17) when he landed there in 432. He became Patrick's first Irish convert, gave Patrick a church in Saul, capital of Lecale, the first of Patrick's foundations in Ireland, and the two became close friends (Benedictines, Delaney).
St. Declan, bishop.
Lismore diocese. 5th century.
Feastday: July 24
Declan, of Ardmore in West Waterford, was a prince of the tribe of Decies among whom there were Christians prior to the coming of Patrick. It is believed that when Patrick was escaping from slavery he received Christian hospitality among the Decies. The round tower (95 feet in height) at Ardmore is probably the best surviving example of its kind.
St. Diomma of Kildimo,
Feastday: May 12
5th century. Irish Saint Diomma taught the road to holiness to Saint Declan (f.d. July 24) and other saints. He is now venerated as patron of Kildimo, County Limerick, Ireland (Benedictines).
St. Domangard (Donard)
of Maghera, Hermit
Feastday: March 24
Died c. 500. The patron saint of Maghera, County Down, Ireland, lived as a hermit on the mountain now called after him Slieve-Donard (Benedictines, Montague).
St. Donnan (Dounan)
and Companions, Martyrs
Feastday: April 17
Died on Eigg, c. 616-618. Saint Donnan was an Irish monk of whom little is known except that he was one of the most active early Scottish saints judging from the trail of place names (usually "Kildonan") stretching from Galloway to Perth and Aberdeenshrie in Uig, South Suist, Sutherland, Arran, and Eigg. Many were converted to Christianity through his efforts. Some say he was a monk of Iona under Saint Columba (f.d. June 9); othersthat he was associated with the Pictish Church and followed the missionary path of Saint Ninian (f.d. September 16).
He eventually established a community of monks on the island of Eigg at Loch Ewe in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. While he was offering the Sacrifice on Easter eve, a gang of armed men arrived. When the Offering was over, they herded the 52 monks into the refectory, set fire to it. Those who tried to escape were killed by the sword.
According to D'Arcy, the record of Columba's death in the "Martyrology of Aengus" prophesies Donnan's end: "Donnan then went with his monastic family to the Western Isle and they took up their abode there in a place where the sheep of the queen of the country were kept. 'Let them be killed,' said she. 'That would not be a religious act," said her people. But they were murderously assailed. At this time the cleric was in church. 'Let us have respite till the Offering is ended,' said Donnan. 'Thou shalt have it,' said they. And went it was over they were slain, every one of them."
Thus, it is said that the deed was prompted by the local chieftainess, who resented the monks' presence on the island, or by a local woman who had lost her grazing rights; but it may simply have been a Viking raid. The monks, whose names are recorded in the "Martyrology of Tallaght" compiled c. 792, are viewed as martyrs. His feast is kept at Argyll and the Isles. His staff was venerated at Husterless until its destruction during the "Reformation." (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, D'Arcy, Farmer, Gill, Montalembert, Moran, Simpson, Skene).
St. Dubtach of Armagh, Bishop
Feastday: October 7
Died c. 513. Archbishop of the primatial see of Armagh, Ireland, from 497 until his death (Benedictines).
Troparion of St Dubtach Hierarch tone 1
Compassionate pastor and inspired teacher of Armagh's flock, O Hierarch
Dubtach,/ thou art a model of piety for both the pastors and the laity
of Christ's holy Church./ Intercede with Christ our God that we may be
given grace to emulate thee/ in bringing others to Him that we all may
St. Duthac of Ross,
Feastday: March 8
Died 1065. An Irishman by birth, St. Duthac became bishop of Ross in Scotland, where his memory is preserved in several place names, e.g., Kilduthie (Benedictines).
There is a ruined chapel in Tain in Easter Ross which is believed to have been built over the place of Duthac's birth. He was of a good Scottish family but went to Ireland for his education returning to his native land as a Bishop, working in the districts of Moray and Ross. An Irish chronicler describes him as "Primus anamchara, praecipius confessarius", first among soul friends and chief among confessors, and he is honoured for his devotion to hearing confessions and giving spiritual direction to his people.
Bishop Elphinstone who was Bishop of Ross before going to Aberdeen is responsible for adding a number of stories about the saint to the Aberdeen Breviary. When he was quite young his mother sent him to the smithy to ask for coals as the fire in their house had gone out. The smith scornfully threw a shovel full of coals at the boy who calmly gathered up the glowing embers in his apron and carried them home without suffering any harm.
Once when he was dining with a noble a drunken guest ordered one of Duttac's disciples to take a gold ring and a lump of meat to his house. While the young man was on this errand he stopped at a churchyard to pray for the dead and a kite flew down and took the ring and the meat from the tombstone on which they had been laid. When Duthac was told of this calamity he prayed to God and the bird flew down to the saint and deposited the stolen articles at his fleet. The ring was restored to the young man but the kite was allowed to consume the meat as a reward for his obedience.
There is another story concerning meat, this time it is about a portion of meat sent by a Canon of Dornoch to the Bishop. He had just killed an ox and dispatched a piece as a present, the bearer being guided by a light like a lamp going before him so that Duthac received the gift the next day still fresh.
When he died in 1065 he was buried at Tain which is called in the Gaelic Baile Duich, Cuthac's Town, and his tomb became a place of pilgrimage, James IV making three visits. Among his relics were his bell and a shirt which was believed to give the wearer miraculous protection. He has a holy well at Cromarty (Barrett, Forbes, Towill).
St. Dympna (Dymphna,
Dympne) of Gheel, Virgin & Martyr
Feastday: May 15
Died c. 650. Dympna is said to have been the daughter of a pagan Irish (from Monaghan?), British, or Amorican king and a Christian princess who died when she was very young, but who had baptized her daughter. As Dympna grew into a young woman, her uncanny resemblance to her dead mother aroused an incestuous passion in her father.
On the advice of her confessor, Saint Gerebernus (f.d. today), Dympna fled from home. Accompanied by Gerebernus and attended by the court jester and his wife, she took a ship to Antwerp. She then travelled through wild forest country until she reached a small oratory dedicated to Saint Martin on the site of the present-day town of Gheel (25 miles from Antwerp). The group settled there to live as hermits and during the several months before they were found, Dympna gained a reputation for holiness because of her devotion to the poor and suffering.
Dympna's father had pursued her to Antwerp, and he sent spies who found them by tracing their use of foreign coins. The king tried to persuade her to return, but when she refused, the king ordered that she and Gerebernus be killed. The king's men killed the priest and their companions but hesitated to kill Dympna. The king himself struck off her head with his sword. The bodies were left on the ground. They were buried by angelic or human hands on the site where they had perished.
The whole story gripped the imagination of the entire countryside especially because, according to tradition, lunatics were cured at her grave. Great interest in her cultus was renewed and spread when the translation of the relics of Dympna was followed by the cures of a number of epileptics, lunatics, and persons under evil influences who had visited the shrine.
Under her patronage, the inhabitants of Gheel have been known for the care they have given to those with mental illnesses. By the close of the 13th century, an infirmary was built. Today the town possesses a first-class sanatorium, one of the largest and most efficient colonies for the mentally ill in the world. It was one of the first to initiate a program through which patients live normal and useful lives in the homes of farmers or local residents, whom they assist in their labour and whose family life they share. The strength of Dympna's cultus is evidenced by this compassionate work of the people of Gheel for the mentally ill at a time when they were universally neglected or treated with hostility.
The body of Dympna is preserved in a silver reliquary in the church bearing her name. Only the head of Gerebernus rests there, the remains have been removed to Sonsbeck in the diocese of Muenster. (Attwater, Benedictines, D'Arcy, Delaney, Farmer, Kenney, Montague, O'Hanlon, White).
In art, Saint Dympna is a crowned maiden with a sword and the devil on a chain. Many children in Belgium are called Dympna, but in Ireland she is remembered under the form Damhnat, while in England Daphne is used.
Dympna is invoked against insanity, mental illness of all types, asylums for the mentally ill, nurses of the mentally ill, sleepwalking, epilepsy, and demoniac possession (Roeder). Her feast day is kept in Ireland and Gheel.