Friday 21 October 2016

Saint Fintan Munna of Taghmon, October 21

October 21 is the feast of Saint Fintan better known as Saint Munna. Munna is an important figure who features in a number of well-known episodes from the lives of the Irish saints.  He also played a significant role in the Paschal Dating Controversy. All the sources suggest that he was quite a fiery character who was not to be crossed lightly. For a comprehensive account of his life please follow this link to a paper by Dr Edward Cullerton which was published in the Taghmon Historical Society Journal. Below is an account from Dom Michael Barrett's work,  A Calendar of Scottish Saints, for our saint was also venerated in Scotland:


21 St. Mund or Fintan-Munnu, Abbot, A.D. 635, 

HE was born in Ireland, and was a contemporary of St. Columba. He bears the character of being the most austere of all the Irish saints, and suffered grievously from bodily in firmities with the greatest resignation. Crossing over to Scotland, he dwelt for a time upon an island of Loch Leven, still called after him by the title of Eileanmunde. A more important foundation was afterwards made by this saint at Kilmun, north of the Firth of Clyde, in Argyllshire. An old burial ground still marks the site of the monastery founded by St. Mund; the hills and wooded glens which surround the spot make up a scene of striking beauty. A small bay in the vicinity is called " Holy Loch". It is a matter of dispute whether the title came from its proximity to St. Mund's foundation or from a shipload of earth from the Holy Land, destined to form part of the foundation of a church in Glasgow, and reputed to have been sunk in a storm near that spot. It is said that St. Mund made application to Baithen, St. Columba's successor at Iona, to be received as a monk of that monastery, but that Baithen advised the saint to return to Ireland and found a monastery there. The holy abbot gave this advice on account of a prophecy of St. Columba, who had foreseen St. Mund's desire, and had declared that God willed that saint to become abbot over others and not the disciple of Baithen. It was owing to this advice that St. Mund returned to his native land and founded Teach-Mun (Tagmon) in Wexford, which became famous under his rule. Mediaeval documents mention the saint's pastoral staff as preserved in Argyllshire; its hereditary custodian held a small croft at Kilmun; it may have been in honour of this saint that a fair was held at that place for eight days during April as alluded to in records of 1490. No trace of the above relic now remains. In Ireland this saint is known as St. Fintan-Munnu; but Mundus or Mund is the title which appears in Scottish records.

Dom Michael Barrett, O.S.B., A Calendar of Scottish Saints (2nd. revised ed., Fort Augustus, 1919), 151-152.

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