Tuesday 16 June 2015

Saint Séadna, June 16

On June 16 we commemorate Saint Séadna (Setna), one of at least a dozen saints who bears this name and most of whom are obscure figures. This one, however, was associated with Saint Patrick, as Canon O'Hanlon explains:

St. Setna, Son of Tren, Bishop.

According to the Martyrology of Tallagh,  Setna MacTreno, a Bishop, had a feast on the 16th of June. Marianus O'Gorman also notices this Setna Mac Tren. The feast of this holy man has been assigned to the 16th of June, by Colgan. At the present date, that writer promised to treat more at large about the present saint. In the Acts of St. Patrick, we have a narrative regarding the cruel disposition of Tren or Trian, the son of Fiec, and a remarkable visitation of God which overtook him. He is said to have been cruel to his workmen, and the holy Apostle, having remonstrated with him in vain, at length declared, that a visible judgment of God should come upon him. This denunciation he disregard. However, the saint's prediction proved to be true. Ascending his chariot, the horses ran headlong into a lake. Owing to this circumstance, it was afterwards known as Loch Trena or the Lake of Trian. The wife of Trian, moved by this catastrophe, asked the saint's forgiveness, and obtained a blessing for herself, and for the children, she then bore in the womb. Two sons were afterwards born, at the same time. One of these was called Jarlath while the other was named Setna or Sedna. This event is said to have occurred in Mudornia, in the province of Ulster. The latter was baptized by St. Secundin, the disciple of St. Patrick. St. Setna and his twin-brother, St. Jarlath, were born at Rath-Trena, of the noble and ancient family of the Dal-Fiatach. Their country was in the present county of Down. The name of the district, in which it had been situated, was Uachthar or Uachthar-Thire, which extended so far west as Slievenaboley. Jocelyn states, that St. Jarlath was born in Midernia, which Colgan corrects to Mudorna. In his edition of Ware's Bishops, Harris writes, that it was the barony of Mourne, in the southern part of the present county of Down. However, Dr. O'Donovan states, that barony did not obtain such a name, until the twelfth century, and that St. Jarlath was born in Cremorne, or Crich-Mudhorna, in the present county of Monaghan. St. Setna was elevated to episcopal rank, but his See does not appear to be known. According to the Martyrology of Donegal, veneration was given on this day, to Setna, son of Tren, Bishop. In the Irish Calendar, belonging to the Royal Irish Academy, and compiled for the Irish Ordnance Survey, at the xvi. of the July Kalends, or June 16th, his feast is entered.

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