Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Earth from Saint Ciarán's Tomb Saves Saint Colum Cille at Sea
We are told, on his hearing about St. Kieran's death, St. Columkille, Abbot of Iona, declared, that it was a providential circumstance, he had been called away from life at an early age; for, had he lived to an advanced term of years, the envy of many would be excited against him. It is said, that St. Columba composed a Hymn in honour of our saint. This seems to indicate, that he had been at Clonmacnoise, when it was written; since the successor of Kieran said to him: "O father, this is a beautiful and eulogistic hymn; what return can we make for its composition?" Columba answered, "Give me two hands full of earth, taken from the grave of Father Kieran, because that I desire and love, more than pure gold or precious stones." Wherefore, St. Columba, taking this earth from the sepulchre of St. Kieran, returned to his own island of Hy.
But, while on his voyage thither, a great sea-storm arose, which carried his ship towards a most dangerous whirlpool, known as Corebreacyn. While drifting towards this whirlpool, so much dreaded by mariners, St. Columba threw a portion of the earth taken from St. Kieran's tomb into the sea. Immediately, the waves subsided, the tempest was stilled, and the ship escaped from that menaced danger. Thereupon, St. Columba returned thanks to God, and called his fellow-passengers to witness what a favour had been obtained, through the relics of Blessed Kieran.
[Footnote: This account purports to be taken from the thirty-third chapter of an old Life of St. Kieran. It is not to be found in the Irish Life, contained in the Book of Lismore.]
Rev J. O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish Saints, Volume IX, (Dublin n.d.), 232-233.
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