Thursday 31 January 2013

Vignettes from the Lives of the Irish Saints: The Vision of Saint Finan Lobhar

As January 31 is both the feastday of Saint Maedoc and the eve of the feast of Saint Brigid, I couldn't resist this story of a vision attributed to Saint Finan Lobhar, abbot of Swords, as related by Canon O'Hanlon:

'A HOLY man called Finan Lobhar, or the Leper, lived in the northern part of Leinster for many years. He witnessed an apparition the very day before [Saint Maedoc's] departure from this life... Finan saw a miraculous chariot descending from Heaven, and moving towards Ferns. In it were seated an old man of most venerable and pleasing countenance, dressed in clerical costume, with a virgin, clothed in a religious habit. Both seemed to exhibit mutual reverence towards each other. Asking who they were, St. Finian received this answer, from the cleric:

"This is the most holy Virgin Brigid, Patroness of Ireland, and I am Maidoc, the servant of Christ. My feast shall be celebrated on to-morrow, and the festival of this holy virgin, on the day succeeding but we now come that we may bless our places, and those who by their gifts and oblations shall honour the anniversary day of our deaths. But be joyful and prepare, for on the day following, you shall go to heaven."

Rising from his ecstasy, St. Finian ascended this chariot, and went to Kildare city, of which St. Brigid was regarded as the special patroness. This holy man related his vision to many, and, as had been predicted, on the third day after, he happily departed to Heaven.'

Lives of the Irish Saints, volume 1 (Dublin, 1875), 568-9.

Unfortunately, the calendars unanimously ascribe March 16th as the feastday of Saint Finan Lobar, rather than February 2, but it is still a wonderful story!

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