Wednesday 18 September 2013

Saint Enna of Emlaghfad, September 18

September 18 is the commemoration of Saint Enna (Endeus, Enda), abbot of the monastery of Emlaghfad, County Sligo. In the Life of Saint Colum Cille by the 16th-century Donegal chieftain Manus O'Donell, it was said that this monastery was a Columban foundation. Bishop William Reeves, in the introduction to his translation of the Life of Columba by Adamnan, records the following note of the locality:

22. EMLAGHFAD. Imleach fada, "the long marsh." Here, according to O' Donnell, St. Columba founded a church on the west side of a hill called Tulach-segra [now Tully in Toomour] in the district of Corann, appointing Enna, son of Nuadhan, its first minister. It is now a parish church in the diocese of Achonry, and county of Sligo.

Canon O'Hanlon in his account below of Saint Enna notes that his predecessor, Father John Lanigan, who was writing in the 1820s, believed that our saint was the same individual as Enda, son of Nuadan, who was listed as belonging to the second order of Irish saints. The translator of the Martyrology of Gorman, Whitley Stokes, accepted this identification in his listing of the three orders of saints as commemorated in O'Gorman's calendar. I have previously posted Stokes' list here. One thing that surprises me, in view of the claimed link between Saint Enna's monastery and Saint Colum Cille, is that Saint Enna does not appear on the Martyrology of Donegal for this day. The 12th-century Martyrology of Marianus O'Gorman appears to be the only calendar which records his feast.



FRUITS, which show the brightest colouring on the rind, are not always the most ripe and wholesome. They have attractions only for the incautious and unwise. Yet those, who have attained a bad eminence are very often honoured on earth, when God's holiest ones are almost unknown or neglected. Our chief purpose in this collection is to rescue from almost utter oblivion memorials that can still be found regarding those who have rendered good service to Religion in the glorious past ages.

St. Endeus or Enna was probably born about the middle of the sixth century, being son to Nuadan. We have few notices left regarding him. However, as Dr. Lanigan remarks, nothing occurs to prevent us from supposing him to have been that Endeus alluded to, in the Second Class of Irish Saints. He is thought to have been a disciple of St. Columkille, the great Apostle of Caledonia. St Columba founded a monastery at a place called Imleachfoda. Over this, he placed St. Enna, as its first minister. The former residence of Endeus is now called Emlaghfad, in Sligo County. This ancient town lies six miles south of Sligo, and one from Ballymote. It is now a parish church, in the diocese of Achonry; and Prince O'Donnell, the Biographer of St. Columkille, tells us, that the subject of his Memoir erected a Church there, on the west side of a hill, called Tulach-sugra. At present it is known as Tully, in Toomour, within the barony of Corann.

The year of St. Endeus' or Enna's death is unknown. The festival of this saint has been referred to the 18th of September, by Marianus O'Gorman. This was probably the Natalis, or day of his death. However, we do not find his festival in the Martyrologies of Tallagh or of Donegal at that date.

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