1 March 560 AD: St. Senan
of died on this day. Bishop and
confessor. He was born at Magh Lacha, near Kilrush, Co. circa 488 AD. His parents were called Erean and Comgella.
St Senan is considered one
of the ‘Twelve Apostles of Ireland’ part of an elite group of Holy Scholars who
studied under the guidance of St Finnian at his Monastery at Clonard, Co Meath.
He commenced his missionary career by founding a church near Enniscorthy, in
around 510 and the parish is still known as Templeshannon/Tempeal Senan.
He then visited Menevia, Rome and Tours before returning to
He founded a number
of Monasteries but his most famous was on an island not far from the place of
his Birth. This was on Iniscathaigh, today
know as Scattery Island in the Estuary of the River Shannon. Here many Holy men
and devotees came to visit him but no women – for the Saint made a strict point
that no member of the fairer sex could set foot on the island. It is reputed
that even his own sister, herself a saintly woman, was allowed to disembark
there. To honour her dying wish to be buried near her beloved brother St Senan
on her death had her body brought out on a boat near the island. When the tide
was low he had her mortal remains buried beneath the tidal mud so that the
spirit if not the letter of her last earthly desire was met.
St Senan though was not against womanhood but
believed in the rule of celibacy being strictly followed. He was patron to
nunneries as well which he visited. It was while returning from one such visit
on 1 March 560 AD that he suddenly took ill in a field outside the nuns church.
Knowing his end was near, he raised his hands in thanksgiving to God, and telling his companions
that his hour had come to depart from them, he bade them on his death to convey
his body to Iniscathaigh.