Sunday, 23 August 2015

23rd August

Éogan of Ardstraw

Saint Éogan, founder of the monastery of Ardstraw

The name Eogan means "born under the protection of the sacred yew tree". The yew, believed to be the oldest of trees, has hard wood.

Eogan was born in Leinster, the area where Christianity first reached Ireland. As a boy he studied at Clones, and it was from there that he was carried off to Britain by pirates, and subsequently he was taken captive to Brittany. On obtaining his freedom, he went to study at St. Ninian's Candida Casa (the name given to the church established by St Ninian in Whithorn, Galloway, Scotland. The name derives from Latin: casa - hut and candida - shining or glittering white).

On returning to Ireland, he made a foundation at Kilnamanagh where he trained “not a few bishops and very many priests”. He founded a monastic house at Ardstraw and became a missionary and pilgrim. So great was his reputation that he was consecrated first Bishop of Ardstraw about the year 581.

It is said of Eogan that while going through forests near Wicklow he sang fifty psalms and when his attendant answered "Amen" at the end of the Lord's Prayer, the trees all around also answered "Amen".