Wednesday 14 May 2014

Saint Lassar, May 14

May 14 is the feast day of Saint Carthage of Lismore, a saint with a wealth of hagiographical traditions associated with him. By contrast it is also the commemoration of an obscure female saint, Lassar, one of fourteen saints who share this name, based on the Old Irish word for flame. It occurs too as a name for men, with Saint Molaisse or Laserian being the most famous example. Only one of the female saints Lassar has a surviving Life, a late 17th-century composition which may have been modernised from a Late Middle Irish original. The subject of that Life has a feast day on November 13 at which time I hope to bring some selections from the work. Whether there is any relationship between the various female saints Lassar is hard to fathom, it may be that there are a number of distinct individuals who happen to share the name or it may be that some were commemorated on more than one day. Canon O'Hanlon can only write a few lines on the Saint Lassar commemorated on May 14:

St. Lassar, or Laisre.

A record of Laisre is found in the published Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 14th of May, and it is also in the Franciscan copy. From the same source, the Bollandists  enter at this day the festival of St. Lasra, or Lassara, with a reference to what had been said regarding Cassara Virgo—evidently a mistake for Lassara Virgo—placed among the pretermitted feasts, at the 11th of May. On this day, veneration was given to Lassar, as we read, also, in the Martyrology of Donegal.

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