St. Sacer (Mo-Sacra) of Saggard, Abbot
Feastday: March 3

7th century. An Irish saint, Sacer was the abbot-founder of the monastery of Saggard, Dublin (Benedictines).

St. Sanctan, Bishop of Kill-da-Les
Feastday: May 9

6th century. Saint Sanctan was bishop of Kill-da-Les and Kill-na-Sanctan (now Dublin), ancient sees in Ireland. He is likely to have been born in Britain (Benedictines).

St. Scannal of Cell-Coleraine Feastday: May 3

Troparion of St Scannel tone 3
Sent by Colum Cille thou didst travel from Iona,
and spend thy life preaching Christ in pagan darkness.
As thou hast boldness before Christ in heavenly glory, O Father Scannel,
entreat Him that our souls may be saved.

St. Senach (Snach), Bishop of Clonard

Feastday: August 3

 

6th century. A disciple of Saint Finnian (f.d. December 12) and his successor at Clonard (Benedictines).

St. Senan (Senames) of Scattery
Feastday: March 8

Died c. 560. Senan was the principal of the numerous Irish saints with this name, and is credited with making a remarkable succession of monastic foundations on islands at the mouths of rivers and elsewhere, from the Slaney in Wexford to the coast of Clare. The stories that have survived about St. Senan suggest a man of considerable complexity of character. He is said to have visited Rome and on his way home stayed with St. David (f.d. March 1) in Wales. On his return to Ireland, he founded more churches and monasteries, notably one at Inishcarra near Cork. He finally settled and was buried on Scattery Island (Inis Cathaig) in the Shannon estuary, where there is still a fine round tower and other early remnants. There are indications that he spent some time in Cornwall, but appears to have had no connection with the Land's End parish of Sennen (Attwater, Benedictines).

Senan was born at Kilrush in County Clare where his parents, Erguid and Comgella, owned land and were well to do farmers. In his youth he had to do some fighting for his overlord but it was while he was about the more peaceful occupation of looking after his father's cattle that the call came to forsake the world and devote himself to religious study. His conversion was caused by a great wave that broke at his feet as he was walking on the sea shore, then ebbed leaving a clear path for him across the bay, and finally closed behind him. He saw this as a sign that his lay life was over and, breaking his spear in two, he made a cross of it and set out for the monastery at Kilnamanagh in County Dublin.

Senan was obviously a resourceful man for he miraculously automated the mill at the monastery so that it ground the grain without him having to leave his books. He made great progress in his studies and after his ordination he visited other centres of learning before returning to his home country to found a number of religious houses. The most famous of his foundations was on Scattery Island, Iniscathaigh, and before he could build his monastery there he had to rid the island of a ferocious beast after which it was named, the Cata. The monster is described as exceedingly fierce and breathing fire and spitting venom which make some believe that it was a tribe of wild cats. However, Senan protected by his faith, expelled it with the sign of the Cross, ordering it never to harm anyone again.

The Archangel Raphael is said to have aided him and there was an incident when Senan was searching for water for his monks that the Archangel directed the holly stick with which he was probing and water gushed out of the dry ground. Senan left his stick in the hole and on the next day he found that it had grown into a tree. Raphael also helped S. Senan to ensure safe crossing to the island for his monks.

The ruins on Scattery include those of six churches, the Saint's grave which provides miraculous cures in the church known as Temple Senan and a spectacular round tower, the tallest in the whole of Ireland. He died on March 1st but his burial was postponed to the octave day of his death to enable those from the neighbouring communities to attend, so his festival is observed on March 8th (Flanagan, Neeson, Baring Gould).

Manuscript Live of St. Senan:

The several versions of Senan's Life differ considerably in content. The metrical Latin version is probably the oldest, but it seems to be a monastic composition having no very direct connection with Inis-Cathaig. On the other hand the Irish Life, which, though quite fabulous, is also very interesting, seems to depend directly on legends of the lower Shannon, and probably on a Life written at Inis-Cathaig when that was still a flourishing monastery, that is, not later than the tenth century. The imposing array of miracles, the list of famous saints with whom the subject of the Life is brought into contact, and the records of church foundations made by him, all indicate an origin in a monastery of his community.

The extraordinary inconsistencies of the chronological setting may reject the absence of historical data: Senan is, while still in his mother's womb, foretold by Patrick (d. 461); he succeeds Maedoc (d. 626) as abbot of Ferns; he makes a league with Martin of Tours (d. 397 x 403); he associates with various Irish saints of the middle and second half of the sixth century; and he dies on the same day as David of Wales (544 x 547, or 601). But the biographers were capable of a wonderful recklessness in these matters, even when dealing with saints whose records were well founded.

The establishment of many different churches by Senan is recorded: they represent, doubtless, the paruchia claimed by the abbots of Inis-Cathaig.

Much curious and interesting matter is contained in the several texts.

Amra Senain......... This eulogy of Senan is written in language of intentional dignity and obscurity similar to that of the Amra of Colum-cille (no. 212) which it closely resembles. It too is ascribed to Dallan Forgaille.

Miorbuile Senain: The Miracles of Senan........ This is an account, written probably in the fourteenth century, of happenings during that and the preceding hundred years which the author considered to be due to the intervention of St. Senan. It has value for the history and social conditions of the age; and the information regarding Senan's churches and their inter-relationships can doubtless, be used in part for earlier epochs. The text ends with a poem giving a long list of famous saints with whom Senan had made alliances, and who were bound to avenge any injury to his churches.

Saint Senán

Inis-Cathaig and the River Shannon, Ireland 

From Early History of Ireland: Ecclesiastical by James F. Kenney 
 

Inis-Cathaig (Iniscathy, Scattery Island) and St. Senan 

It has been observed that certain of the saints who belong to that dim backward of time which saw the beginnings of Irish Christianity -- Ibar, Brigit, Ailbe, perhaps Mac Cairthinn -- appear to have taken each the name and something of the legends and cult of a pagan deity. In the same company should be placed Senan, who from the island known as Inis-Cathaig (Scattery Island, about a mile from Kilrush) ruled the waters of the great river Sinann, now the Shannon. In pagan days Senan was, we may believe, a river-god, to whom, as to Neptune, the horse was sacred, and a slayer of monsters, at whose sanctuary on Inis-Cathaig was told the legend of his killing, or driving away, the dragon-like creature Cathach. It is probable that his cult was particularly strongly established among the Corcu Baiscinn, a sea-faring people who dwelt in the southwestern section of the present Clare, between the Shannon and the Atlantic. In Christian times Senan was founder of the church of Inis-Cathaig; patron of the Corcu Baiscinn, and of the Ui Fidgente, the ruling kindreds of the territory on the southern side of the estuary of the Shannon; and a saint whose cult, spread by these peoples, was to be found in Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany. As in the cases of Ibar and Brigit, Macalister offers the hypothesis that the saint was the Christian hermit who turned Inis-Cathaig from a pagan to a Christian shrine, but whose name and fame ultimately fell captive to those of the god whom he overthrew. 

Life of St. Senan 

The several versions of Senan's Life differ considerably in content. The metrical Latin version is probably the oldest, but it seems to be a monastic composition having no very direct connection with Inis-Cathaig. On the other hand the Irish Life, which, though quite fabulous, is also very interesting, seems to depend directly on legends of the lower Shannon, and probably on a Life written at Inis-Cathaig when that was still a flourishing monastery, that is, not later than the tenth century. The imposing array of miracles, the list of famous saints with whom the subject of the Life is brought into contact, and the records of church foundations made by him, all indicate an origin in a monastery of his community. 

The extraordinary inconsistencies of the chronological setting may reject the absence of historical data: Senan is, while still in his mother's womb, foretold by Patrick (d. 461); he succeeds Maedoc (d. 626) as abbot of Ferns; he makes a league with Martin of Tours (d. 397 x 403); he associates with various Irish saints of the middle and second half of the sixth century; and he dies on the same day as David of Wales (544 x 547, or 601). But the biographers were capable of a wonderful recklessness in these matters, even when dealing with saints whose records were well founded. 

The establishment of many different churches by Senan is recorded: they represent, doubtless, the paruchia claimed by the abbots of Inis-Cathaig. 

Much curious and interesting matter is contained in the several texts. 

Amra Senain 

This eulogy of Senan is written in language of intentional dignity and obscurity similar to that of the Amra of Colum-cille (no. 212) which it closely resembles. It too is ascribed to Dallan Forgaille. 

Miorbuile Senain: The Miracles of Senan 

This is an account, written probably in the fourteenth century, of happenings during that and the preceding hundred years which the author considered to be due to the intervention of St. Senan. It has value for the history and social conditions of the age; and the information regarding Senan's churches and their inter-relationships can doubtless, be used in part for earlier epochs. The text ends with a poem giving a long list of famous saints with whom Senan had made alliances, and who were bound to avenge any injury to his 
churches. 
 

St. Siadhal (Sedulius, Seadhal, Siadal)
Feastday: February 12

5th century. Sedulius (known in Irish as Siadhal, pronounced Shiel), was an Irish priest known as the Christian Virgil on the strength of his epic poem in five books "Carmen Paschale" . He left Ireland to found a school of poetry in Athens, proving that outstanding scholarship existed on the Emerald Isle prior to Saint Patrick. While he was still in Ireland, he may have been a disciple of Saint Ailbhe (f.d. September 12).

In 494, a decree of the First Roman Council contained a phrase "honouring by signal praise the Paschal Work of the Venerable man, Sedulius" We know that the oldest manuscript from Siadhal was that recorded by the monks of Saint Columbanus at Bobbio (Montague).

St. Sillian (Sillan, Silvanus) of Bangor, Abbot
Feastday: February 28

Died c. 610. A disciple of St. Comgall (f.d. May 11) of Bangor, County Down, and his second successor as abbot of that monastery (Benedictines).

St. Sincheall, Abbot of Killeigh (Sinell of Killeagh)
Feastday: March 26

5th century. Sincheall, an early Roman convert of Saint Patrick (f.d. March 17), was abbot-founder of the monastery and school at Killeigh, Offaly, Ireland, where he had 150 monks under his direction. The community flourished until the 16th century (Benedictines, D'Arcy, McManus, Montague, Sullivan, Tommasini).

St. Sinell or Senchell . Said to be the first to be baptised by St. Patrick. He lived as a hermit in Clane, Co. Kildare afterwards founding a community in the present parish of Killeigh, Co. Offaly. Killeigh is derived from Cill Achaidh the original name. Two saints of this name resided at Killeigh.

The Martyrlology of Donegal has this verse about St. Senchell:

"The men of heaven, the men of earth, a surrounding host, thought that the day of judgement 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."

St. Slebhene (Slebhine), Abbot
Feastday: March 2

Died 767. An Irish monk who was abbot of Iona from 752 to 767(Benedictines).

St. Suairlech of Fore, Bishop
Feastday: March 27

Died c. 750. First bishop of Fore, Westmeath, Ireland, from c. 735 until his death (Benedictines).