Today is the feast of Saint Nathy, patron of the Diocese of Achonry. Below is an 1889 poem by an Irish-American contributor to the Catholic press of his day, Patrick J. Coleman, which recounts the founding of the diocese and the part played by Saint Finnian of Clonard in its establishment. Saint Finnian is depicted in hagiography as a teacher and guide to other Irish monastic saints and his Life includes the episode on which the poem is based. The idea of a monastery's location being decided by divine intervention is a common trope in hagiography and here it provides the context for the relationship between the senior saint, Finnian, and the junior, Nathy. Modern scholars suggest that such stories really reflect the church politics of the time when the saint's Life was written. Nathy himself is not the subject of a written Life but his small foundation was sufficiently important to merit the recording of its establishment in the Life of Saint Finnian:
THE FOUNDING OF ACHONRY *
Patrick J. Coleman.
Philadelphia, April 30, 1889.
* The diocese of Achonry, which takes its name from a small village in County Sligo, includes portions of Sligo, Mayo, and Roscommon. St. Nathy (whose feast is the 9th of August) was the first bishop of the diocese, about the year of our Lord 630. The legendary circumstances of his consecration by St. Finnian of Clonard, whose disciple he was, are narrated in these verses. His present successor is the Most Rev. John Lyster, D.D. The name of Leyney still survives in the barony Leyney, in Sligo, originally the patrimony of the Clan O'Hara.
Content Copyright © Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae 2012-2021. All rights reserved.