To All Hibernians:
In the early part of January, we are still within the Christmas season. At the Baptism of the Lord (January 8), we pass from the Christmas season to a segment of Ordinary Time prior to the Lenten season, from the liturgical color white to green. In the month of January, two American saints are commemorated, Elizabeth Ann Seton (January 4) and John Neumann (January 5).
January 22 is a Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn.
MAJOR SAINTS AND FEAST DAYS OF JANUARY
|Mary, the Mother of God
|Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors
|Most Holy Name of Jesus
|Elizabeth Ann Seton
|John Neumann, Bishop
|Epiphany of the Lord
|Baptism of the Lord
|Hilary, Bishop and Doctor
|Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor
|Conversion of Paul, Apostle
|Timothy and Titus, Bishops
|John Bosco, Priest
FRANCIS DE SALES
Francis de Sales (1567-1622), whom we venerate this month, has an important message for all of us. In his writings and sermons, Francis always emphasized that there is a pathway to holiness which fits every walk in life. From his Introduction to the Devout Life: “It is therefore an error and even a heresy to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households.”
IRISH SAINTS OF JANUARY
Fanchea of Rossory (d.c. 585) January 1
Sister of St. Anda of Aran (check)
Munchin (7th century) January 2
Munchin , called The Wise, is the patron saint of Limerick, and probably came from County Clare. He is also known as Maincin (Little Monk). Tradition avers that he was a bishop, but scholars doubt this.
Ita (d.c. 570) January 15
Ita was supposedly of royal lineage and was born in one of the baronies of Decies, Waterford, Ireland. After refusing to marry, she secured her father’s permission to embrace perpetual virginity. At Killeedy, Limerick, she founded a religious community of women and also a school for boys, among the graduates of which may have been St. Brendan. Many extravagant miracles are attributed to her. She is also known as Deirdre, Ida, or Mida.
Fursey (d.c. 648) January 16th
Fursey stands out among early Irish saints in having biographical details fairly abundant and in reliable sources. He was probably born on Inisquin in Lough Corri, of an aristocratic family. He built a monastery, probably at Killursa, to which many disciples came. Fursey often fell into trance-like or ecstatic states, in which he experienced terrifying visions of demonic influences upon sinful men. After about twelve years of preaching throughout Ireland, he travelled to East Anglia in Britain with his brothers Foillan and Ultan. There, they founded a monastery at Burgh Castle near Yarmouth, under the patronage of King Sigebert. Fursey later sojourned in Neustria on the continent, where he was welcomed by King Clovis II, founded a monastery at Lagny, and died shortly thereafter.
Deicolus (c. 530-c. 625) January 18
Deicolus, also known as Desle, may have been the elder brother of St. Gall, born in Leinster, and was one of the twelve disciples of Columban who accompanied him to Gaul in 576. He worked with Columban in Austrasia and Burgundy. Age prevented him from accompanying Columban when he was expelled in 610. Deicolus founded a monastery at Lure and lived as a hermit in his later years. Columban is supposed to have asked Deicolus once why he was always smiling, receiving the reply: “Because no one can take God from me.”
Albert of Cashel (7th or 8th century) January 19
A great deal of confusion surrounds the life of this saint. Albert was a priest from among the Angles , who sojourned in Ireland and in Bavaria on the continent. He has been associated with the see of Cashel, but the story that he was its bishop cannot be true, since the bishopric did not exist at the time of his alleged reign there. The story of his friendship with St. Erhard is also problematic, since they may not have been contemporaries. He is said to have died in Regensburg, Germany, on his way home from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Fillan, Abbot (8th century) January 19
Fillan, also known as Foelan, was the son of Feriach and St. Kentigerna. He took monastic vows at a young age. He accompanied his royal Leinster mother to Scotland, living as a hermit near St. Andrew’s for years, before being elected abbot. Later, he resigned the abbacy and resumed his eremitic life in Perthshire. Extravagant miracles are attributed to him. One story relates that after a wolf had killed an ox he was using to haul materials to his church, his prayers induced the wolf to take the place of the ox.
Fechin, Abbot (d.665) January 20
Fechin was probably born at Luighne (Leyney), Connaught. He was the founding abbot of Fobhar (Fore), Westmeath, and perished during a plague which swept Ireland in 665.
Miambod (d.c. 880) January 23
Also known as Mainboeuf, he was an Irish missionary on the continent, slain in Alsace by hostile pagans.
Natalis (d.564) January 27
Aidan, Bishop (d. 626) January 31
Unreliable legends cloud our knowledge of this saint, also known as Maedoc. He was born in Connaught. After a stay in Leinster, he travelled to St. David’s in Wales, where he studied Scripture. He is said to have miraculously repelled several Saxon attacks there. Later he returned to Ireland, founded a monasterey at Ferns, Wexford, and eventually was consecrated bishop there. He was known as a man of great kindness to man and animal alike. He is represented in art as a stag; this stems from a story that he once rendered a stag invisible to save it from hounds.
Adamnan of Coldingham (d.c. 680) January 31
Not to be confused with the better known Adamnan, who was abbot of Iona, this Adamnan was an Irish monk of Coldingham, off the southeast coast of Scotland. He was known for his austerity and his gift of prophecy.
–The national March for Life will take place January 19 in Washington, D.C. Hibernians are encouraged to come and participate with the national officers and local D.C.-area divisions, or support activities in their own areas.
Patrick J. Lally
[Sources consulted for this report include: Butler’s Lives of the Saints, complete edition, ed. and rev. by Herbert Thurston and Donald Attwater; 4 vols. (New York, 1956); The Liturgy of the Hours According to the Roman Rite (New York, 1975); The National Catholic Register; ewtn.com; catholic.org; priestsforlife.org; catholicnewsagency.com; isccb.org.]