Friday 22 March 2013

Saint Deghitche, March 22

On March 22 we have the commemoration of yet another of our enigmatic holy women. The feast of Saint Deghitche is recorded on all of the Irish calendars from the 8th/9th-century Martyrology of Tallaght, through to the 12th-century Martyrology of Gorman and finally to the 17th-century Martyrology of Donegal. Despite her feast being so well-attested, however, no other details have survived. Canon O'Hanlon tells us that the 17th-century hagiologist, Father John Colgan, suggested that she might be the same person as a saint mentioned in the Life of Saint Farannan:

St. Deghitche, or Deghitghi, Virgin.

The Martyrology of Tallagh records a Saint Deghitghi, but without further designation at this day. We find mentioned, also in the Martyrology of Donegal, a saint named Deghitche, as having a festival celebrated, at the same date. The Bollandists – alluding furthermore to Marianus O’Gorman – have Saint Degithea, a Virgin, at the 22nd March. Colgan offers a passing conjecture, that the present holy woman may be identical, with a St. Geghia, of Inis Geghe, who is mentioned, in the Irish Life of St. Farannan.

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