Wednesday 9 September 2015

The Death of Saint Ciarán of Clonmacnoise


35. Our most holy patron Kiaranus lived but for one year in his settlement of Cluain. When he knew that the day of his death was approaching, he prophesied, deploring the subsequent evils that would come to pass in his place after him; and he said that their life would be short. Then the brethren said unto him, "What then shall we do in the time of those evils? Shall we abide here beside thy relics, or shall we go to other places?" To them Saint Kiaranus said, "Haste ye to other quiet places, and leave my relics here like the dry bones of a stag on a mountain. For it is better for you to be with my spirit in heaven than beside my bones on earth, and stumbling withal."

Saint Kiaranus used greatly to crucify his body, and we write here an example of this. He ever had a stone pillow beneath his head, which till to-day remains in the monastery of Saint Kiaranus, and is reverenced by every one. Moreover, when he was growing weak, he would not have the stone removed from him, but commanded it to be placed to his shoulders, that he should have affliction even to the end, for the sake of an everlasting reward in heaven.

Now when the hour of his departure was approaching, he commanded that he should be carried outside, out of the house; and looking up into heaven, he said, "Hard is that way, and this needs must be." To him the brethren said, "We know that nothing is difficult for thee, father; but we unhappy ones must greatly fear this hour."

And being carried back into the house, he raised his hand and blessed his people and clerks; and having received the Lord's Sacrifice, on the fifth of the ides of September he gave up the ghost, in the thirty-third year of his age. And lo, angels filled the way between heaven and earth, rejoicing to meet Saint Kiaranus.

R.A.Stewart-MacAllister, ed. and trans., The Latin and Irish Lives of Ciaran, (London, SPCK, 1921).

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