Fintan of Clonenagh

(d. 603)

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(d. 603),

abbot. Born in Leinster and educated by St Colum of Terryglass, he founded Clonenagh which was famous for great austerity: he himself was reputed to live on a diet of barley bread and clayey water. This, however, did not prevent him from establishing a milder regime for some neighbouring monks. When some of his monks left the monastery without permission he received back at least one of them. When some soldiers came to the monastery bearing the severed heads of their enemies, Fintan had these buried in the monks' cemetery in the hope that by Doomsday they would have benefited from the prayers of generations of monks; ‘since the principal part of their bodies rest here, we hope they will find mercy’. Feast (all over Ireland): 17 February.

Life in W. W. Heist, Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae (1965), 145–53 and V.S.H., ii. 96–106;J. Ryan, Irish Monasticism (1931), pp. 127–8; B.L.S., ii. 171.

Subjects: Christianity.

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