Friday 4 September 2015

Saint Sarbile of Faughart, September 4

September 4 sees the commemoration of Saint Sarbile from the Faughart district of County Louth, which some hagiographical traditions claim to be the birthplace of Saint Brigid of Kildare. The Faughart area is also hailed as the birthplace of Saint Monnina of Killeavy. The Irish sources agree that Monnina was not the original name of this holy woman and most record that she was originally called Dareca. This Irish comment on the Leabhar Breac copy of the Feilire of Oengus, however also notes "Moninne of Slieve Gullion, and Sarbile was her name previously. Or Darerca was her name at first..." So it seems there may be some confusion here. Canon O'Hanlon provides the few details on the life of Saint Sarbile:

St. Sarbile, Virgin of Fochart, County of Louth.

As Mary, mentioned in the Gospel, loved to sit at the feet of Jesus, so do holy virgins desire that calm and rest, in which His voice is best heard speaking to their hearts. We find set down in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 4th of September, that veneration was given to Sarbile, Virgin of Fochairde, or Fochart, in the old district of Murtheimhne. This is now a level country in the present County of Louth. It extends from the River Boyne to the Mountains of Cuilgne, or Carlingford. The Martyrology of Donegal simply records the name Sarbile, of Fochard, at the same date. This may have been the St. Orbilia, Virgin, whose Acts Colgan had intended to produce at the present day, as we have gathered from the list of his unpublished manuscripts.

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