Monday 3 February 2014

Saint Caoilfionn, February 3

February 3 is the feast day of Saint Caoilfionn, yet another of our obscure Irish female saints. In his account below, Canon O'Hanlon relies on the seventeenth-century Martyrology of Donegal for clues as to her identity and concludes with some pious conjectures of his own:

St. Caoilfionn, Virgin.

Some doubts, regarding this holy woman's race and parentage, seem to exist. We read, in the Martyrology of Donegal, as having had a festival on this day, Caoilfionn, Virgin, of Caellainn. This Caellainn, we are told, belonged possibly to the race of Modh-ruith, son to Fergus, son of Ros, son to Rudhraighe. Or, she might possibly be Caoilfionn, daughter of Cael, son to Fionnchadh, who belonged to the race of Ciar, son to Fergus, son to Ros, son of Rudhraighe. This pious lady quickly won the esteem and affection of her sister nuns, by her exactness to every duty, as also, by her sweet temper, gentle, confiding disposition and unaffected piety.

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