Thursday 15 May 2014

Saint Colman of Oughval, May 15

May 15 is the feast of a Leinster saint, Colman of Oughval. Below is an extract from the work of diocesan historian, Bishop Michael Comerford, on Saint Colman, his foundation at Stradbally, County Laois and his association with saint Columba:

St. Colman-mac-ua-Laoigse, a disciple of St. Columba, founded a monastery here about the middle of the seventh century; this Saint's feast was observed on the 15th of May, at which date he is entered in the Martyrologies of Tallaght and Donegal; in the latter it is given thus:- "Colman Mac ua Laoighse, of Tulach MacComhghaill, at Druimnitogha, i.e., at Nuachongbhail in Laoighse, of Leinster. He was of the race of Laoighsach LeannMor, son of Conall Cearnach." In the life of St. Columba it is related that St. Columban of Oughaval, when leaving Iona, where he had lived some years in his youth under the spiritual care of St. Columba, full of anxious affection at his departure, he exclaimed:

"O Saint of God! How can I live in my own country and confess my sins to thee?"
Columba answered him:
"Go to the holy man whom I see every Sunday night, standing with the angels before the tribunal of Christ."
The holy youth asked who was that saint. St. Columba answered:
"Saint, indeed he is, and comely, and of your own kindred, with florid complexion and bright eyes, and a few grey hairs now beginning to appear."
The young man answered:
"I know no such person in my country except St. Fintan of Clonenagh."

Adamnan relates also the following regarding the Vision of Holy Angels who carried off to Heaven the soul of the Saintly Bishop Colman Mac Ua Laoigshe:- Another time while the brothers were dressing in the morning and about to go to their different duties in the monastery, the Saint (Columbkille) bade them rest that day and prepare for the holy sacrifice, ordering also better fare for dinner, such as was given on Sunday. "I must," said he, "though unworthy, celebrate today the holy mysteries of the Eucharist out of respect for the soul which last night went up to heaven beyond the sky and stars, borne thither by choirs of holy angels." The brethren, in obedience to his command, rested that day, and after preparing for the sacred rites, they accompanied the saint to the church in their white robes as on festivals. And when they were singing the usual prayer in which St. Martin's name is commemorated, the Saint, turning to the chaunters, said: "You must pray to-day for Saint Colman, Bishop." Then all the brethren present understood that Colman, a Leinster Bishop, the dear, friend of Columba had passed to the Lord. A short time after, some persons who came from the province of Leinster, told how the bishop died the very night it was revealed to the saint.

Rev M Comerford" Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin" Vol. 3 (1886)

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