Jul 9, 2011

St. Kieran (Ciaran) of Clonmacnoise,

St. Kieran (Ciaran) of Clonmacnoise, also known as St. Kieran the Younger, was born around 512 AD in Connacht, Ireland, a town located in the northern part of County Roscommon. The son of Beoit, a carpenter and chariot-builder, Kieran inherited a love of learning from his mother’s side of the family, as his maternal grandfather had been a bard, poet, and historian. Baptized by deacon Justus (“the righteous one”), who also served as his first tutor, the boy Kieran worked as a cattle herder. Even this early in his life, stories testifying to Kieran’s holiness are told. Some later believed that his work as a herdsman foreshadowed the care he would offer the many who sought his wisdom.

Kieran continued his education at the monastery of Clonard, which was led by St. Finnian. Yet another story, that of the “Dun-Cow of Kieran,” is associated with his move to this abbey. What is quite certain is that Kieran quickly gained the reputation of being the most learned monk at Clonard, and was asked to serve as tutor to the daughter of the King of Cuala, even as he continued his own studies. His friend and fellow student, Columcille of Iona, testified to Kieran’s brilliance by saying, “He was a lamp, blazing with the light of wisdom.” Besides being renowned for his brilliance, Kieran also had a great capacity for friendship with other leaders of the early Irish church. In addition to Justus, Columcille, and Finnian, Kieran counted Enda of the Aran Islands as his mentor, and both Senan of Scattery Island and Kevin of Glendalough as friends and colleagues. Kieran’s years of residence at Clonard were also marked by miraculous events that benefited the entire monastery.

After completing his studies under Finnian, Kieran left Clonard and moved to the monastery of Inishmore in the Aran Isles, which was directed by St. Enda. While a member of this monastic community, Kieran was blessed with the vision of a great tree, which anticipated his own foundation of a renowned monastery. From Inishmore, Kieran went to visit his religious brothers at Isel in central Ireland. His stay here was brief, as the other monks envied his fame as a scholar, and resented what they considered his excessive charity to the poor. Asked to leave Isel, Kieran was led by a stag to Inis Aingin, or Hare Island. While he lived here for 3 years and 3 months, brothers from all over Ireland came to study under Kieran, and more miracles attested to his holiness.

1 comment:

Kiera Sneeden said...

This icon is of St Ciaran of Saigir (the Elder) not Clonmacnoise (the Younger).