September 9th - St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise



September 9th - St. Ciaran of Clonmacnoise
(also known as Kieran, Kyran, Ceran, Queran)

Born in Connacht, Ireland, c. 516; died at Clonmacnoise, c. 556. Saint
Ciaran is one of the 12 Apostles of Ireland. Born into a Meath family of
pre-Celtic descent, Saint Ciaran was the son of the carpenter Beoit. As a
boy he left home with a dun cow for company in order to be trained for the
monastic life in Saint Finnian's monastery at Clonard. At Clonard he taught
the daughter of the king of Cuala because he was considered the most learned
monk in the abbey.

About 534, he migrated to Inishmore in the Aran Islands, where he spent
seven years learning from Saint Enda and was ordained priest. He left after
having a vision that Enda interpreted for him. Ciaran travelled slowly
eastward, first Scattery Island where he learned from Saint Senan, then to
Isel in the center of Ireland. He was forced to leave here because of his
excessive charity and moved on to Inis Aingin (Hare Island).

He left there with eight companions and eventually settled at Clonmacnoise
on the Shannon River south of Athlone in the West Meath, where he built
Clonmacnoise monastery. He gave his monks an extremely austere rule, known
as the Law of Kieran. The saint is said to have lived only seven months
after founding the great school of Clonmacnoise, dying at the age of 34.
Clonmacnoise may have been one of the most famous in Ireland, attracting
students from throughout the country. The monastery survived many invasions
and raids until 1552, and there are still many notable ruins remaining from
its early days. Although Ciaran's shrine was plundered several times during
the medieval period, the Clonmacnoise crozier remains in the National Museum
in Dublin.

The following stories derive from the "Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae" as
translated by Plummer, which includes the moving account of his death:

The abbot Ciaran "was like a burning lamp, of charity so rare that not only
did the fervor and devotion of his pitiful heart go out to the relieving of
the hunger of men, but he showed himself tireless in caring for the dumb
beasts in their necessity. . . ."

Ciaran left Saint Senan to live for a time with his brethren Luchen, abbot,
and Odran, prior, at Isel Monastery, where he was appointed almoner. One day
"Ciaran was reading out of doors in the graveyard in the sun, when he
suddenly spied some weary travellers going into the guest house; and
hurriedly getting up, he forgot his book, and it lay open out of doors until
the morrow.


"Meantime, as he busied himself settling his guests in their quarters and
bathing their feet and eagerly tending them, the night fell. In that same
night there fell great rains; but by God's will the open book was found dry
and sound; not a drop of rain had fallen upon it, and all the ground round
about it was damp. For which Saint Ciaran and his brethren gave Christ
praise. . . .
"One day, when Saint Ciaran was working in the field, there came to him a
poor man asking for alms. At that very hour a chariot with two horses had
been brought in offering to Saint Ciaran by a certain lord, the son of
Crimthann, King of Connaught; and these horses and chariot gave Ciaran to
this poor man.

"Now Saint Ciaran's brothers could not endure the vastness of his charity,
for every day he divided their substance among the poor, and so they said to
him, 'Brother, depart from us; for we cannot live in the same place with
thee and feed and keep our brethren for God, because of thy unbounded
lavishness.' To whom Saint Ciaran made reply: 'If I had remained in this
place, it would not have been Isel (that is, the low-lying): not low but
high, but great and honorable.'

"And with that Saint Ciaran blessed his brothers, and taking his wallet with
his books on his shoulder, he set out from thence. And when he had gone a
little way from the place, there met him on the path a stag, awaiting him in
all gentleness; and Saint Ciaran set his wallet on his back, and wherever
the stag went, the blessed Ciaran followed him. And the stag came to Lough
Ree, which is in the east of Connaught, and stood over against Hare Island,
which is in the lake.

"Then Saint Ciaran knew that God had called him to that island; and blessing
the stag, he sent him away, and went to that island and dwelt there. And the
fame of his holiness spread abroad, and from far and near good men came
together to him, and Saint Ciaran made them his monks. . . .

"And one day as they rowed across, Saint Ciaran's gospel which a brother was
holding carelessly fell into the lake, and for a great while it lay under
the waters and was not found. But one summer day the cows came into the
lake, to cool themselves in the water from the great heat of the sun; and
when they were coming out from it, the leather wallet in which the Gospel
had been put had caught about the foot of one of the cows, and so the cow
dragged the wallet with her back to dry land; and inside the sodden leather
the book of the Gospel was found, clean and dry and shining white, with no
trace of damp, as if it had been hidden in a library. For which Saint Ciaran
rejoiced, and his brethren with him. . . .

"And after these things came a man of Munster . . . Donnan by name, to
Saint, Ciaran dwelling on Hare Island. And to him one day Saint Ciaran said,
'What seek you, my father, in these parts?' And Saint Donnan replied,
'Master, I seek a place to abide in, where I may serve Christ in exile.'

"Then said Saint Ciaran, 'Abide, father, in this place; for I shall go to
some other; I know that this is not the place of my resurrection.' Then
Saint Ciaran gave Hare Island with his household goods to Saint Donnan, and
came to a place called Ard Mantain on the River Shannon; but he would not
dwell in that place, and said, 'I will not to dwell in this place, for here
there will be a great plenty of the things of this world, and worldly
delight; and heard would it be for the souls of my disciples to go to
heaven, if I should live here, for the place belongs to the men of this
world.'

"And thereafter Saint Ciaran left that place and came to the place which was
called of old Ard Tiprat, but is now called Clonmacnoise. And coming to the
place he said: 'Here shall I dwell; for many souls shall go forth from this
place to the Kingdom of God; and in this place shall my resurrection be.' So
there the blessed Ciaran lived with his disciples, and began to found a
great monastery there; and many found all sides came to him, and his parish
spread about him far; and the name of Saint Ciaran was famous throughout all
Ireland. And a famous and holy city rose in that place to the honor of Saint
Ciaran, and its name was Clonmacnoise . . . and in it whether they be kings
or princes, the chiefs of the sons of Niall and of Connaught are buried
beside Saint Ciaran there. . . .

"So for one year did our most holy patron Saint Ciaran dwell in his city of
Clonmacnoise. And when he knew that the day of his death was drawing nigh,
he prophesied, weeping, of the future evils that would fall after his day
upon that place; and said that their life would be a poor thing. Then said
the brethren: 'Father, what shall we do in the day of these calamities?
Shall we abide here beside thy relics? Or shall we seek another place?'

"To whom Saint Ciaran said: 'Haste ye to some other place of peace, and
leave my relics as it might be the dry bones of a stag on the mountain.
Better for you that your life should be with my spirit in heaven, than that
ye should abide dishonored beside my bones upon earth.'

"And when the hour of his departing drew nigh he bade them carry him out of
doors from the house, and gazing up at the sky said, 'Steep is that road;
and it must needs be.' The brethren said to him, 'Father, we know that
nothing is hard for thee: but for us feeble folk, there is sore dread in
this hour.'

"And again brought back into the house he lifted up his hand and blessed his
people and his clergy, and having received the sacrifice of the Lord, on the
ninth day of September he gave up the ghost, in the thirty-third year of his
age" (Plummer).


Saint Quote :
Whatever did not fit in with my plan did lie within the plan of God. I have
an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when
seen in the light of God, that my whole life down to the smallest details
has been marked out for me in the plan of Divine Providence and has a
completely coherent meaning in God's all-seeing eyes. And so I am beginning
to rejoice in the light of glory wherein this meaning will be unveiled to
me.
-Saint Edith Stein

Bible Quote:
6 Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath
joined together, let no man put asunder. (Matthew 19:6)

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Daily Thought From The Following of Christ
This is the highest wisdom, by despising the world, to make progress towards
the kingdom of Heaven.


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Saint Anthony, Example of Humility

Dear St. Anthony, after all these years in the school of Christ,
I still haven't learned the lesson of true humility. My feelings
are easily ruffled. Quick to take offense, I am slow to forgive.
St. Anthony, Example of Humility, teach me the importance
and necessity of this Christian virtue. In the presence of
Jesus, who humbled Himself and whom the Father exalted,
remember also these special intentions of mine. (Name them.)



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