Samthann of Clonbroney, County Longford
December 19 is the feastday of one of my favourite Irish saints – Samthann of Clonbroney, County Longford. The Martyrology of Oengus devotes its entire entry for this day to her:
C. xiv. cal. Ianuarii.
19. Blithe unto my soul,
with the vastness of her host,
be the fair pure manna of elemental God,
Samthann of Clúain Brónaig !
The later Martyrology of Donegal reads:
19. C. QUARTO DECIMO KAL. JANUARII. 19.
SAMHTHANN, Virgin, of Cluain-Bronaigh, in Cairbre in Tethbha, near Granard. She was of the race of Fiatach Finn, monarch of Erin. The age of Christ when she went to heaven was 734.
We are blessed in having a surviving Life of Saint Samthann which records how, having forsaken her aristocratic husband on their wedding night to follow the religious life, she came to the monastery of Clonbroney and was put in charge by its founder, Saint Fuinech. The following excerpts from the Vita Sanctae Samthannae Virginis have been taken from Dorothy Africa’s translation:
5. At that time the foundress of Clonbroney, the blessed virgin Fuinech, dreamt that sparks of fire in the likeness of Saint Samthann came and consumed the whole monastery, and then rose up in a great flame. She told her dream to the sisters and gave this interpretation: “Burning with the fire of the Holy Spirit, Samthann will make this place shimmer by virtue of her merits and in the splendour of miracles”. For that reason, Fuinech sent for Samthann and gave her the community. [ more
Source: Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae: Saint Samthann of Clonbroney, December 19