Saint of the Month


Saint Patrick Feast Day

March 17th

Iconic buildings throughout the world turn green and large festive parades celebrate St Patrick’s day.  Patrick is identified with Ireland as he is the National Apostle. The day set aside to recognise Patrick becomes a day to acknowledge and celebrate being Irish and being of Irish descent.

We will look at the man behind all these celebrations.  The two earliest biographies of Patrick come from the 7th century.  Muirchu’s Life of Patrick and Bishop Tirechan’s Account of St Patrick’s Journey promoted the cult of Patrick.   However, a much more personal account of his life comes from his own hand.  In his ‘Confessions’, Patrick outlines his spiritual journey.  It was written towards the end of his life and is an outpouring of his soul to God.

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St Gobnet (Gobnait)
Feastday 11th February

Historical details about the life of St Gobnet are sparce yet she is venerated in many parts of Ireland.

It is said that Gobnet was born in Co Clare in the 6th century.  Later, she spent some time on Inis Oirr (Thiar), Aran Islands.  A story has come down to us saying that an angel invited her to travel around the country to find the ‘place of her Resurrection’.  She was to travel until she found a field where there were nine white deer grazing.  It was near the border of Cork and Kerry, in a place called Ballyvourney, that she settled and built up the Christian community.

Her feastday occurs on February 11th.  She is venerated as the patron of health and bee-keeping.  People celebrate the ‘pattern’ day (patron day) at a number of holy wells especially on Inis Oirr, Co Galway and Ballyvourney Co Cork.  Hundreds of people gather around her shrine or well and do ‘rounds’ of prayer.

There is a Harry Clarke stained glass window of St Gobnet, spelt Gobnait (her name in Irish) in the Honan Chapel of Cork University.  It depicts the story of Gobnet driving a brigand away with a swarm of bees.  There are townlands named Kilbognet (the church of Gobnet) in Co’s Kerry, Cork and Waterford.

Helen Grealy


St Brigid Feastday

February 1st.

Most scholars agree that St Brigid of Ireland inherits much from Brigit the goddess.  It is mostly in the area of imagery and symbolism that we see this relationship.  Before the coming of Christianity, the Celts believed in gods and goddesses.  Brigit, the triple goddess was revered and loved.  She had a special relationship to the earth and the elements .  The attributes associated with Brigit were in the areas of birthing, nurturing and nourishing.  She was seen to be goddess of poetry, wisdom, learning, the hearth, medicines and smithcraft.  Perhaps the strongest image associated with Brigit was that of fire whether this was the fire of inspiration or the fire needed for warmth or preparations of food, medicines and metals.

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St Ita 

Feast day 15th January

Today, a number of our towns/villages/ townlands bear the name of St Ita, e.g. Kilmeaden Co. Waterford and Killeedy and Kilmeedy Co Limerick ; (Kill (Cill) translates as ‘church’, the ‘m/o’ is ‘my’ and ead/eed is ‘Ide’, the Irish for Ita, thus ‘the church of my Ita’.  Ita, our 6th century saint is still honoured in our place names, revered in many parishes as well as being Patron of the Diocese of Limerick.

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