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In the Company of St. Patrick

Ten major Irish saints

by Ann-Marie Imbornoni
St. Patrick

St. Patrick

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Did you know? Although St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland—and certainly no other saint has the stature of St. Patrick in Ireland—the beloved holy man wasn't actually Irish. Born somewhere in western or northern Britain, he was brought to Ireland as a slave when still a teenager. After six years he escaped to the Continent, where he became a monk. Eventually, following a vision, he returned to Ireland to Christianize it.

But Ireland, which was once known as the land of saints and scholars, has bred numerous saints, many of whom left their native country to Christianize the rest of Europe. Here are but a few.

St. Aidan
Feast day: Aug. 31

The founder of a great center of Celtic Christianity.



St. Brendan
Feast day: May 16

Patron of boatmen, sailors, travelers, and whales.



St. Brigid

St. Brigid
Feast day: Feb. 1

Patron of babies, blacksmiths, cows and dairy workers, Ireland, midwives, poets, sailors, scholars, and travelers.


St. Columba
Feast day: June 9

Patron of bookbinders, Ireland, poets, and Scotland



St. Columban
Feast day: Nov. 23

It is no wonder that this saint's emblem is the bear, as he seems to have had a knack for causing trouble.



St. Ita
Feast day: Jan. 15

The revered teacher of St. Brendan.



St. Kevin

St. Kevin
Feast day: June 3

Patron of blackbirds, the archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland, and Glendalough, Ireland.




St. Kieran
Feast day: Sept. 9

A visionary who founded a great Irish monastery.



St. Malachy
Feast day: Nov. 3

The first Irish saint to be canonized by a pope, in 1199.



St. Oliver Plunket
Feast day: July 11

The last Catholic martyr to die at Tyburn, he was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.






Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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