Wednesday 10 September 2014

Saint Senach, son of Buidi, September 10

September 10 is the feast of Saint Senach, son of Buidi. His name first appears in the earliest of the Irish calendars, The Martyrology of Tallaght, but as it's a name shared by an number of saints it is difficult for Canon O'Hanlon to bring specific details, although he concentrates on the saint Senach with Patrician associations in his account below:

St. Senach, son of Buidi.

[Possibly in the Fifth Century.]

Veneration was given to a Senaig Gairbh—as he is called—at the 10th of September, according to the published Martyrology of Tallagh. In that copy contained in the Book or Leinster, while we have Senaig Gairb on one line in large letters, mac buidi seem to follow in smaller characters in the space underneath, and immediately over Findbair. There is a saint of this name, who was placed by St. Patrick to rule over the church of Achadh-fobhuir as a bishop. This lay in the western part of Connaught.

In our Ecclesiastical Calendars, there are several persons bearing the name of Senach. One occurs in Tirechan's List. It is not improbable, that he may have been Senach of Aghagower. This was in the territory of Umalia or Hymalia. Yet, it is not certain, that he can be identified more with the present, than with any other bearing the name and mentioned in our Calendars. The following account is given by Jocelyn, in his Life of St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland. In the place, which is named Achadfobhair, St. Patrick had built and endowed a church with fair possessions; and, over it he appointed and consecrated as bishop Sennach, who, for the innocency of his heart, was called the Lamb of God. And he, being so consecrated, entreated of the saint that with unceasing prayer, he should labour with the Lord, to shield him in his office from the commission of all sin. Furthermore, he suppliantly besought, that the church over which he presided might not be called by his name, as was in many places the custom among the Irish people. And this he did, to preserve his lowliness, and to avoid vain glory, which is the fretting moth of all virtues. Then, understanding the worthiness of Sennach, and the simplicity of his heart, St. Patrick promised to him the fulfilment of all his desires. Blessing him and his flock, St. Patrick prophesied, that therefrom should proceed many holy and eminent priests. Serving in exceeding holiness the Holy of Holies, and being renowned for his miracles and for his virtues, Sennach entered at length into the heavenly sanctuary. More than once, Colgan calls Aghagower merely the locality of a bishop's see. Archdall places a monastery under Senach of Aghagower. But, in whatever account we have regarding him, no such thing is mentioned. If the holy man be identical, as Colgan thinks, with the former mentioned, the present Senach was greatly distinguished as a virtuous disciple of the Irish Apostle. The name of Senach, son of Buidi, appears in the Martyrology of Donegal, at this same date.

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