Monday, June 24, 2013

St. Finian

This is the first in a series of Irish and Scottish saints I encountered during my study abroad. I felt like I was always tripping over a saint's footsteps, and it was wonderful!

St. Finian was born in Ireland around 470 but trained in Wales. When he returned to Ireland, he started a number of monasteries and schools. Men from all over would gather at the Clonard school to study under Finian. It is stated that more than 3,000 men studied there.

Finian is best known as a teacher, specifically for his pupils who are known as the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. In the manuscript (in Gaelic Dá apstol décc na hÉrenn), the twelve men are gathered for a feast at Finian’s house when a magical flower appears before them. They decide that one of them must take a voyage to the flower’s homeland. St. Brendan goes, and his adventures are recorded in another text. However, all of the apostles went out to spread the Gospel. All became canonized saints. Most notable of the twelve is St. Columba of Iona.

Finian died during a plague in 549. His feast day is December 12.

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