The Character of Saint Finnian
Finian died at Clonard, in A.D. 552. An old writer has left us the following sketch of his character: — "He was full of wisdom, as a scribe most learned to teach the law of God's commandments. He was most merciful and compassionate, and sincerely sympathised with the infirmities of the sick, and the sorrows of the afflicted; and in every work of mercy he was most ready with his assistance. He healed with mildness the mental and bodily ills of all who came to him. Towards himself he exercised the strictest discipline, to leave to others a good example. He loved all from a pure heart. He abhorred all carnal and mental vices. His ordinary food was bread and herbs, his drink water; but on the festivals of the Church, he ate bread made of corn, and drank a cup of ale, or whey. When obliged to take moderate repose, he slept not on a soft and easy couch, but rather on the bare ground, with a stone for his pillow. In a word, he was full of compassion toward all other men, but of strictness and severity to himself."
Vita St. Finian,— Colgan's AA. SS. p. 397.
W. G. Todd, A History of the Ancient Church in Ireland (London, 1845), 31.
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