St. Conan, Bishop, 26 January 2017

Dom Michael Barrett

The little island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland has been a place of pilgrimage since St Columba established a monastery there in 6th century.  From there St Columba set out on journeys that brought the good news of Christ to the people of Scotland and beyond.  Viking raids, and the ruination unleashed by the Reformation, destroyed the monastic community.  However thanks to the fame of its founder St Columba, the island has always been revered as a holy place.  In the 1930s the Abbey was rebuilt by the Church of Scotland minister, Lord McLeod, and is now home to an ecumenical community.  In 1991 a Catholic Prayer House was established and Mass began to be celebrated regularly on the island once again.

January 26 – St. Conan, Bishop, A.D. 648.

He was born in Ireland, and is said to have passed over to Iona to join the community there, in which his virtues and talents placed him high in the estimation of the monks. He was characterised by a special devotion to the Mother of God, which won for him a singular purity of soul. He was made tutor to the three sons of Eugenius IV, King of Scotland, and brought them up carefully and wisely. Later on he became a Bishop. St. Conan was greatly honoured in Scotland. His name survives at Kilconan, in Fortingal, Perthshire, and at St. Conan’s Well, near Dalmally, Argyleshire. St. Conan’s Fair is held at Glenorchy, Perthshire, but this seems to relate to another saint of like name, as its date is the third Wednesday in March and our saint was venerated on January 26th, as the best authorities testify.

Source: Barrett/Scottish Saints/St. Conan – Saint Wiki. 2017