St. Ecian, Bishop in Ireland
Feastday: Febuary 11

St. Edan, bishop, Ferns diocese, 632
Feastday: January 31

This bishop, the founder of Ferns, is variously spelt as Edan. or Aedan, or M'-Aed-oc (Mogue). He symbolises the close link between Ireland and Wales: Ferns might be said to be twinned with Menevia.

St. Eingan of Llanengan, Hermit
(Einganor Eneon, Einion, Eneon, Anianus)
Feastday: February 9

6th century (died c. 590); feast day sometimes shown as April 21. The British (or Scotus) prince Saint Eingan or Eneon Bhrenin, left Cumberland for Wales, where he ended his days as a hermit at Llanengan near Bangor. He is said to have been a son of the chieftain Cunedda, whose family claims no less than 50 saints (Benedictines).

St. Elias of Cologne, Abbot
Feastday: April 16


Died 1042; Montague marks his feast as April 12. Elias was an Irishman from County Monaghan who became a monk and, in 1020, abbot of the Gaelic abbey of Saint Martin the Great at Cologne, Germany. The archbishop also placed the abbey of Saint Pantaleon under his care (Benedictines, Montague).

St. Enda, Abbot of Arranmore, Father of Irish Monasticism ,br>(Eanna, Endeus, Enna)
Feastday: March 21

Born in Meath; died at Killeany, Ireland, c. 530 or 590; feast day formerly on March 16.

In the 6th century, the wild rock called Aran, off the coast of Galway, was an isle of saints, and among them was Saint Enda, the patriarch of Irish monasticism. He was an Irish prince, son of Conall Derg of Oriel (Ergall) in Ulster. Legend has it that the soldier Enda was converted by his sister, Saint Fanchea (f.d. January 1), abbess of Kill-Aine. He renounced his dreams of conquest and decided to marry one of the girls in his sister's convent. When his intended bride died suddenly, he surrendered his throne and a life of worldly glory to become a monk. He made a pilgrimage to Rome and was ordained there. These stories told of the early life of Saint Enda and his sister are unreliable, but the rest is not. More authentic "vitae" survive at Tighlaghearny at Inishmore, where he was buried.

It is said that Enda learned the principles of monastic life at Rosnat in Britain, which was probably Saint David's foundation in Pembrokeshire or Saint Ninian's (f.d. September 16) in Galloway. Returning to Ireland, Enda built churches at Drogheda, and a monastery in the Boyne valley. It is uncertain how much of Enda's rule was an adaptation of that of Rosnat.

Thereafter (about 484) he begged his brother-in-law, the King Oengus (Aengus) of Munster, to give him the wild and barren isle of Aran (Aranmore) in Galway Bay. Oengus wanted to give him a fertile plot in the Golden Vale, but Aran more suited Enda's ideal for religious life. On Aran he established the monastery of Killeaney, which is regarded as the first Irish monastery in the strict sense, `the capital of the Ireland of the saints.' There they lived a hard life of manual labour, prayer, fasting, and study of the Scriptures. It is said that no fire was ever allowed to warm the cold stone cells even if "cold could be felt by those hearts so glowing with love of God."

Enda divided the island into ten parts, in each of which he built a monastery, and under his severe rule Aran became a burning light of sanctity for centuries in Western Europe. Sheep now huddle and shiver in the storm under the ruins of old walls where once men lived and prayed. This was the chosen home of a group of poor and devoted men under Saint Enda. He taught them to love the hard rock, the dripping cave, and the barren earth swept by the western gales. They were men of the cave, and also men of the Cross, who, remembering that their Lord was born in a manger and had nowhere to lay His head, followed the same hard way.

Their coming produced excitement, and the Galway fishermen were kept busy rowing their small boats filled with curious sightseers across the intervening sea, for the fame of Aran-More spread far and wide. Enda's disciples were a noble band. There was Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnoise (f.d. September 9), who came there first as a youth to grind corn, and would have remained there for life but for Enda's insistence that his true work lay elsewhere, reluctant though he was to part with him. When he departed, the monks of Aran lined the shore as he knelt for the last time to receive Enda's blessing, and watched with wistful eyes the boat that bore him from them. In his going, they declared, their island had lost its flower and strength.

Another was Saint Finnian (f.d. September 10), who left Aran and founded the monastery of Moville (where Saint Columba spent part of his youth) and who afterwards became bishop of Lucca in Tuscany, Italy. Among them also was Saint Brendan the Voyager , Saint Columba of Iona, Jarlath of Tuam (f.d. June 6), and Carthach the Elder (f.d. March 5) These and many others formed a great and valiant company who first learned in Aran the many ways of God, and who from that rocky sanctuary carried the light of the Gospel into a pagan world.

The very wildness of Aran made it richer and dearer to those who lived there. They loved those islands which "as a necklace of pearls, God has set upon the bosom of the sea," and all the more because they had been the scene of heathen worship. There were three islands altogether, with lovely Irish names: Inishmore, Inishmain, and Inisheen.

On the largest stood Saint Enda's well and altar, and the round tower of the church where the bell was sounded which gave the signal that Saint Enda had taken his place at the altar. At the tolling of the bell the service of the Mass began in all the churches of the island.

"O, Aran," cried Columba in ecstasy, "the Rome of the pilgrims!" He never forgot his spiritual home which lay in the western sun and her pure earth sanctified by so many memories. Indeed, he said, so bright was her glory that the angels of God came down to worship in the churches of Aran (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, D'Arcy, Delaney, Encyclopaedia, Farmer, Gill, Healy, Husenbeth, Kenney, Montague).

St. Ermina (Febaria)
Feastday: February 28

6th century. Discreet Irish virgin (Encyclopaedia).

St. Eugene, Bishop of Tyrone

(Eogain, Eoghan, Euny, Owen)

Feastday: August 23

 

Born in Leinster, Ireland; died 618 (or 570). Saint Eugene is another of the many Irishmen who laboured in the mission fields of England and

the Continent. Thereafter he returned to Ireland, where he became the first bishop of Ardfrath (Ardstraw), on the river Derg in Tyrone, which is now the see of Derry. The rest of what we know derives from unreliable sources. These say that Eugene was an excellent and

assiduous preacher, born of the royal blood of Leinster and related to Saint Kevin (f.d. June 3). They report that, like Saint Patrick in

reverse, he was kidnapped as a child and taken into slavery in Britain and then removed to Brittany with Saint Tigernach (f.d. April 4) and

Coirpre (who later became bishop of Coleraine). Eventually they were manumitted by their master and all returned to Ireland. He then

spent 15 years with Saint Kevin at Kilnamanacg, helped Tigernach found Clones Monastery about 576, and then was consecrated bishop c. 581. He was buried in his own churchyard, over whose sepulchre a chapel was afterward built. He is the patron of the diocese of Derry

(Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth, Montague).

Troparion of St Eogan tone 4

O great traveller Eogan who didst traverse Christian Europe in thy zeal

for Christ,/ trained by Saint Ninian thou wast a wise teacher of the

Faith./ Glory to God Who has glorified thee.
 
 

Information on this page was retrieved from the following sources

1998 Catholic Online. All Rights Reserved. 

From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright 1996 by New Advent, Inc.  Bowen, Paul. When We Were One: A Yearbook of the Saints of the British Isles Complied from Ancient Calendars.

Bowen, Paul. When We Were One: A Yearbook of the Saints of the British Isles Complied from Ancient Calendars.

D'Arcy, M. R. (1974). The Saints of Ireland. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Irish American Cultural Institute. [This is probably the most useful book to choose to own on the Irish saints. The author provides a great deal of historical context in which to place the lives of the saints.]

Attwater, D. (1983). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, NY: Penguin Books.

Barrett, Michale Dom. A Calendar of Scottish Saints

Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate. (1947). The book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate. (1966). The Book of Saints. NY: Thomas Y. Crowell.

Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints, NY: Doubleday Image.

Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Flanagan,L.A. (1990). Chronicle of Irish Saints, The Blackstaff Press, Belfast.

Husenbeth, Rev. F. C., DD, VG (ed.). (1928). Butler's Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints. London: Virtue & Co.

Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland. Guildford: Billing & Sons.

Neeson, E. (1967). The Book of Irish Saints, The Mercier Press, Cork.