Thursday 12 February 2015

Saint Forannan of Clonard, February 12

February 12 sees the feast of an eighth-century abbot at the monastery of Clonard, County Meath - Saint Forannan. O'Hanlon has a brief entry on what is known of him:
St. Forannan, Abbot of Clonard, County of Meath.
[Eighth Century.]
We read on this day, in the Martyrology of Donegal, that Forannan, Abbot of Cluain Eraird, was venerated. He is said, also, to have been Abbot of Kildare, and to have died, on the 12th of February, A.D. 740, according to the Annals of the Four Masters,- or according to those of Ulster, A.D. 744.
In his diocesan history of Meath, Anglican rector John Healy recorded something of the context for the lives of the successors to Saint Finian:
The establishment at Clonard continued to exist down to the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion. It produced a long succession of men who were eminent in their day, but whose names now sound unfamiliar — such is the evanescent character of all human greatness. The annalists for the most part record for us simply their parentage and their decease. Sometimes, however, they give us small details that make us wish that they had not been so concise in all their statements, but had given us some particulars of the lives of these remarkable men . Thus they tell us of Bishop Tola, who was "a worthy soldier of Christ," and of Faelgus, who was "a wise man of Clonard." They tell of Suairleach, "bishop, anchorite, and abbot of Clonard, doctor in divinity and in spiritual wisdom, in piety and good deeds, so that his name spread over all Ireland: "and yet again of Ruman the amiable, a bishop who was " a shrine of wisdom, illustrious, acute, a man of virgin purity," and " loved by the hosts of the assembled people." Then we have Colman, the "wise doctor," and Maelmochta, " the head of the piety and wisdom of Ireland ; "Tuathal, the bishop, who "died after a good life," and Oengus, lord of Laeghaire, who, after a life of turmoil, retired to spend at Clonard his declining days, but was followed thither by his foes, and slain by the lord of Delvin. Such entries suggest many thoughts, but it is left to the imagination to fill in the picture. They tell, however, that the place was the abode of learning and piety, where good and learned men served their generation by the will of God.

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