IRISH SAINTS HONORED IN SCOTLAND.
IN an article entitled "The Saints of Catholic Scotland," which appeared in a former issue of this Review (July, 1918), it was stated as unquestionable that the majority of those holy ones of bygone centuries whose names were held in reverence as saints of God in the kingdom of Scotland were actually denizens of Ireland. The circumstances which led to such a result may be thus summarized:
1. The large monastery, founded at Whithorn by St Ninian, on the model of the celebrated Marmoutier of his kinsman, St Martin, and popularly styled Magnum Monasterium, attracted crowds of eager students from Ireland. Thither — besides numerous pilgrims of less distinction— came the renowned St. Finnian of Moville, to study the Sacred Scriptures and to drink in the principles of true monasticism, for the benefit later on of his own country. Thither, too, as tradition affirms, came the illustrious St Patrick himself, to visit in loving veneration St Ninian, the helper of the earliest missionaries to Ireland, and his senior by some forty years. For the fishermen of Port Patrick, from the testimony of a priest living here a century ago, were accustomed to point out a certain spar of rock there as the spot where St. Patrick tied up the boat on which he crossed over frequently from the Irish shore.
2. That district of Strathclyde, moreover, where the "Great Monastery" was situated, gained distinction from the fact that it was the traditional birthplace of St. Patrick. "For more than a thousand years," Cardinal Moran asserts, "it was the uninterrupted tradition of Ireland and Scotland that our apostle, St. Patrick, was born in the valley of the Clyde." Although, as he goes on to remark, this opinion was rejected by learned historians of the nineteenth century, many documents which had come to light since then had served to confirm what he styles "the more venerable" tradition, and that to which he himself had always adhered.
3. Three Irish chieftains, sons of Erc, and named respectively Fergus Mor, Lorn and Angus, left the district of Dalriada, in Ulster, early in the sixth century, and with their followers settled on the opposite coast of what is now called Scotland. There, north of the Clyde, and westward from the mountain range of Drumalban, in the district now known as Argyle, they founded a little kingdom, which they named after their homeland, Dalriada. Small in its beginnings, the kingdom increased in extent and power during the following centuries, until in the eleventh century the name of Scotia — properly belonging to Ireland, the land of the Scots — was extended to the country which was embraced by the Dalriadan rule on the opposite coast, and eventually to the whole of Giledonia or North Britain. The first settlers in Scottish Dalriada were Christians, who had been blessed by St. Patrick in person, and they formed the nucleus from which faith was to spread later in that part of the country.
From these facts we are able to estimate the close connection which sprang up between the two countries, and especially the surpassing interest felt in the spread of Christianity among the pagan peoples of the north by their Irish neighbors. In Strathclyde — St. Patrick's birthplace — was the further attraction of the "Great Monastery" of St. Ninian, to whom Irish Christians looked for the attainment of sanctity and learning; in Dalriada their own countryfolk had settled, and their boundaries were growing ever wider — stretching on the one hand to the islands of the west and on the other towards the territories of the partly converted Southern Picts beyond the mountains, while to the north lay the vast pagan lands inhabited by Northern Picts. Add to this the fact that as early as the end of the century which saw the death of St Ninian, hundreds of former converts in Strathclyde and among the Southern Picts — dwelling between the Firth of Forth and the Grampians— had relapsed into paganism. The missionary zeal of the Irish was stirred on behalf of peoples whose destitute condition seemed to cry out: "Come over * * * and help us!" And to that appeal they gave a generous answer.
It was to Scottish Dalriada, as was natural, that the first Irish missionaries seem to have come. Among the first of these, if we are to accept the opinion which places his death in 507, was St. Modan. He was certainly one of the most celebrated; traces of his labors are to be found all along the west coast of Scotland. Many places still bear his name, although his life and labors have been forgotten by those who inhabit them. He was the son of an Irish chieftain, and became a monk early in life. All that is known of his after career is gathered from the many dedications in his honor in the districts where he preached. His first oratory was at Balmodhan ("St. Modan's Dwelling"), a short distance from the later priory of Ardchattan, near Loch Etive; St. Modan's Well is still pointed out. The site is one of great beauty and charm. Another ancient church of which he is patron is that of Rosneath, in Dumbartonshire. Its name signifies the "Promontory of the Sanctuary." It was here that he was laid to rest, and his tomb was the bourne of a favorite pilgrimage. Kilmodan, on the Kyles of Bute, and another church in Argylleshire were also under his patronage. Scott testifies to the popular devotion shown to this saint in his "Lay of the Last Minstrel":
"Then each to each his troubled breast,
To some blest saint his prayers addressed —
Some to Saint Modan made their vows,
Some to Saint Mary of the Lowes."
As in the case of saints of Scottish origin, it is necessary for brevity's sake to restrict our view to the chief figures of each century. To touch upon all would demand a volume rather than a few pages. We pass on, therefore, to a prominent saint of the same sixth century, St. Medan (also called Modwenna), an Irish nun who took part in the spread of religion in Scotland by the foundation of as many as six or more churches and monasteries for women. She had received the habit of a nun from St. Patrick himself, and was the dear friend of another of his disciples, the renowned St. Brigid. Medan was born in the district of Conaille, and after spending some years as a recluse in her own land, passed over to Scotland. The chief of her foundations was in Galloway, in the parish known by her name in the corrupted form of Kirkmaiden; her cave chapel is still existing close to the Mull of Galloway, near to the site of the ancient church, which, dedicated to the saint — as were also at least three other parish churches in the same county — gave the place its designation. Other churches were founded by St. Medan in Strathclyde; recent antiquarian discoveries on the top of Trapain Law, East Lothian, are considered by competent judges to have brought to light the remains of one of these. An ancient life of the saint says that one of her churches was situated on Mons Dunpeleder — a corruption of Dunpender, the original Celtic name of the hill in question. But still more interesting is the fact that a similar discovery made in 1918 under the chapel in Edinburgh Castle known as St. Margaret's, has led to the conjecture that another of St. Medan's foundations-that of Edinburgh — must have existed in that spot. If so, it is a striking corroboration of the opinion of the learned Dr. Skene, a former Historiographer Royal of Scotland, that the terms "Maiden Castle" and "Edinburgh" referred to this saint. Her name Medan, or Medana, is formed from Mo-Edana, after a common practice with regard to Celtic names, as will be seen more than once in this article. "Medan's Castle" and "Edana's Burgh," in such cases, have suffered little change in course of time.
St. Medan is said to have died in extreme old age at Longfordan, near Dundee, after a most penitential life, during which she made at least one pilgrimage on foot to Rome. In addition to her ancient dedications and her holy well at Kirkmaiden, the saint's name has been perpetuated in the modem Catholic church at Troon, called SS. Mary and Medan; it stands appropriately in Meddan (or Medan) street in that Ayrshire town.
St. Brendan was another very popular saint in the western parts of Scotland. After missionary labors in Wales and the foundation of many monasteries in his native country, where he is said to have ruled over as many as 3,000 monks, he journeyed to Scotland. The exact sites of the two monasteries he founded there cannot be accurately designated: three in the Hebrides and the Island of Bute are conjectural localities. The many dedications of churches in his honor witness to the devotion shown to the saint, whether or not they were in some instances founded by him. They are Kilbrannan, in Mull; Kilbrandon, in the island of Seil; Boyndie, in Banffshire; Bimie, in Moray; Kilbimie, in Ayrshire, and a ruined chapel on St. Kilda. The fishermen of the Western Isles perpetuated until almost recent times an ancient appeal to the saint for a favorable wind. Though ignorant of the significance of the invocation, they would cry repeatedly: "Brainuilt, Brainuilt!" — a contraction, it is supposed, of the Gaelic equivalent for "Brendan the Voyager!" The title refers to the tradition perpetuated by narratives — probably dating long after the saint's time — of his wonderful missionary voyages to regions hitherto unknown to mariners. Much in these stories is undoubtedly fabulous, but it is undeniable that the saint's journeying was extensive. Some writers have maintained that he actually touched the American shore. However this may be, there can be little doubt that the tradition — familiar in every European country — of St. Brendan's wonderful discoveries of vast countries in the west hitherto unexplored, kept in mind the possibility of lands existing beyond the western seas and led eventually to the discovery of the great American continent. The feast of St. Brendan, on May 16, has been restored to the Scottish calendar. He died in 577.
Considerations of space urge the passing over of such names as St Blane, whose church at Ehmbkine became one of the Scottish Cathedrals; of St. Finbar, of Cork, missionary to Kintyre, whose memory lives in the designation of the island of Barra and in other place-names; of St. Finan the Leper, patron of Glenfinnan, in Argyleshire, where his ancient bronze bell is still treasured, and of others of like renown. The prominent figure among the Irish missionaries of the century is the great Columcille, or, to give him his more customary title, St. Columba. It is impossible to pass by this world-wide saint without a few words of appreciation; yet to treat adequately his wondrous life with its labors, penances and miracles, is out of the question here.
The apostle of the northern regions of Scotland was born of kingly race in 521. He gave himself in his early youth to God's service, and at twenty-five years of age founded his first monastery at Derry — the precursor of the hundred houses of God which Ireland was to owe to his unremitting zeal. As a proof of his boundless energy in the work of transcription which formed the chief labor of his monks, it is said that he actually wrote out with his own hands 300 manuscripts of the Psalter and the Gospels. In his forty-second year Columba was inspired with the resolution of carrying into effect a long-cherished project of leaving his beloved land to carry the Gospel to the pagans of Caledonia. On Whitsunday, 563, after a brief examination of the island of Oransay, he landed with twelve companions on Iona, destined to become the centre of their marvelously successful labors. When on June 9, 597, St. Columba was called to his reward in heaven, after thirty-four years of unremitting effort, his missionaries had carried the faith beyond the Grampians and even to Shetland and Orkney, while churches and schools of sanctity and learning had been fotmded on all sides, both on the mainland and adjacent islands. The traces of the cult paid to this saint in the shape of dedications, place-names, holy wells, fairs and the like, are too numerous to recount St Columba is credited with having founded no less than fifty churches in Scotland.
The work of evangelizing the north was continued with no less zeal by St. Columba's disciples. Two of them deserve special notice. St Machar, called also Mochonna, son of a chieftain of Ulster, was one of the twelve first companions of the great missionary. After being consecrated Bishop he was sent to Strathdon with twelve others, to preach the Gospel there. Tradition says that St Columba commanded Machar to settle at a spot near the river Don, where the shape of a Bishop's pastoral staff was formed by its windings, and that this led him to fix his see at Aberdeen. The old Cathedral there bears his name, as also two parishes in the county. His holy well was venerated near the Cathedral. St Machar's feast falls on November 12 and was restored to the calendar by Leo XIII in 1898.
St. Drostan, the other disciple alluded to, lived beyond the end of the sixth century, and his name is in still greater estimation. He is said by some writers to have been born in Scotland of the race of kings of Dalriada. He became a monk at Iona, and was chosen by St. Columba to evangelize the district of Buchan in Aberdeenshire. In reward for the restoration to life at the prayer of Columba of the son of a Pictish chief, land was given for the establishment of a monastery on the bank of the river Ugie, about twelve miles inland from the Moray Firth. Drostan was left in charge, and his sorrow at parting with his master led to the place being called Deer. The Celtic legend embodied in the "Book of Deer," the oldest Scottish MS. extant, preserved at Cambridge University, thus relates the circumstance:
"Drostan's tears (deara) came on parting with Columcille. Said Columcille, 'Let Dear be its name henceforward.'
The saint ended his days at Deer, and according to the Aberdeen Breviary, was laid to rest in a stone tomb at Aberdour, "where many sick persons," it affirms, "find relief." Before entering Iona, St.Drostan seems to have labored as a missionary in Inverness-shire. The beautiful and fertile valley known as Glenurquhart, opening out from Loch Ness, about twelve miles from Inverness, is associated with him. A small piece of land there is still called in Gaelic "St Drostan's Croft," and the glen was formerly styled Urchudainn mo Dhrostain— "St. Drostan's Urquhart" — to distinguish it from other localities bearing the same name. There are numerous dedications to St. Drostan in Scotland. The churches of Aberdour and Old Deer in Aberdeenshire; Glenesk, Edzell and Lochlee, in Forfarshire; Rothiemay, Banffshire; Alvie and Urquhart, Inverness-shire; Halkirk and Cannisbay, in Caithness, are some of them. No less than five holy wells in the adjacent counties of Aberdeen and Forfar bear his name.
St Moluag, a contemporary of St. Columba, was a monk of Bangor who passed over to Scotland to work for souls. He took up his abode on the island of Lismore, in Argyleshire, and converted many to the faith. He founded churches and monasteries in other localities also, especially in Ross-shire. St Moluag's name is an example of a custom alluded to above, of the addition of the prefix Mo to the actual designation of a person. His real name was Lugaidh (pronounced and sometimes written Lua); its Latin form is Luanus. Mo in Gaelic is a title of honor, and ag an endearing suffix; thus Moluag may be translated literally, "My own dear (little) Lugaidh." Killmalomaig, an ancient burying ground near Fort Augustus, and reserved to Catholics long after the Reformation is named after this saint. St. Bernard, in his life of St. Malachy, relates of St Moluag: "One of the sons of that sacred family (Bangor), Lua by name, is said himself alone to have been the founder of a hundred monasteries"-this refers, of course, to Ireland.' St Moluag died in 592.
Lismore became eventually the seat of the Bishopric of Argyle; and the ruins of the ancient Cathedral-said to be the smallest in Britain, though possibly much of the fabric has entirely disappeared -may still be seen. It bore the saint's name as did also, many churches in the Western Isles as some others on the mainland. The pastoral staff of St. Moluag is in possession of the Argyle family. His ancient bell was lost at the time of the Reformation. Great devotion was shown to this saint both in Scotland and Ireland. He is styled in the “Feilire of Aengus”:
"Luoc the pure, the brilliant, the Sun of Lismore in Alba."
St.Donnan,-another contemporary of St. Columba, was an Irish monk who journeyed with fifty-two companions to the Island of Eigg, in the Hebrides. While the Saint was saying, Mass, the pagans broke in upon them. Respite was asked until Mass was ended, when all were slain. The massacre was ordered by a female proprietor of the island, styled in ancient chronicles the Queen. The saint and his companions were reckoned martyrs, and many churches built in their honour in the Western Isles. The feast of St. Donnan and his companions has been restored to Scotland, and is kept on April 17 - the date on which Sunday fell in the year of their martyrdom, 617.
Mention has been made already of St, Finian, the founder of the celebrated monastery of Moville, in County Down, as haying studied at Candida Casa, St Ninian's "Great Monastery” at Whithorn. It was at Moville that many notable Irish saints and scholars were trained _ St.Columba being one of them. St. Finian's part in the evangelization of Scotland must not be overlooked. The Scottish tradition speaks of his having settled in Ayrshire with a few companions; and established monastic life in the Cunningham district; the abbey of Kilwinning, where Benedictines were established in a later age, is called after him, for its name signifies "Church of Wynnin." The varying forms in which his name appears are to be accounted for by the character of the different languages used, There is a still more startling change of this kind in connection with the same saint.- After a pilgrimage to Rome, whence he returned to his own land with a treasure — precious in those early days — under the form of a manuscript copy of the Sacred Scriptures, Finian traveled to Italy a second time. Staying for a time in the city of Lucca, when that see was vacant, the people became so struck with his holiness that they procured his consecration as their Bishop. His life and miracles in that place form the subject of a portion of the "Dialogues" of St Gregory the Great. In Italy this saint is known under the designation of Frigidian. He died in 572."
Another missionary of that epoch was St. Mirin, who preached the faith at Paisley, where his tomb became the bourne of many pilgrims. His name was perpetuated in the dedication of the important abbey of Cluniac Benedictines, founded there in a later age. There are many traces of other dedications to this saint and of holy wells called after him. The seal of the abbey bore his image with the inscription: "O Mirin, pray to Christ for thy servants!" Lights were kept burning round his tomb for centuries, and a small chapel of great beauty, built in the late fifteenth century by a devout citizen and his wife, in honor of St. Mirin and St Columba, is still to be seen annexed to the ruins of the ancient choir of the abbey. It is used as a mortuary chapel by the Abercorn family, who came into possession of the monastic property.
A female saint who inspired great devotion in Scotland was the virgin Triduanna. She lived as a solitary at Rescobie, in Forfarshire, about the seventh century. Of her a popular legend related that when a prince of that country conceived an unlawful passion for her and pursued her with his unwelcome attentions, Triduana plucked out her beautiful eyes— her chief attraction — and sent them to him. In reward she obtained the power of curing diseases of the sight She died at Restalrig (anciently written Lestalrig), a village about two miles from Edinburgh. Her tomb became a popular place of pilgrimage from all parts of Scotland, and was the most important shrine in that part of the country. Her holy well there was frequented by those who suffered from any affection of the eye Sir David Lyndsay, the satirical poet of the Reformation, ridicules the superstition of those who resorted to "St Trid Well" "to mend their eye." On account of the popularity of this church, and the fact that Dean Sinclair, the superior of the collegiate body established there, was one of the most prominent opponents of the Reformation, the building was ordered by the General Assembly of the Kirk in the first year of the supremacy of the Reformers (1560), "to be razed and utterly cast down as a monument of idolatry." This was so completely done that only fragments were allowed to remain.
In 1907, after the building had served for some seventy years (by means of partial restoration) as a chapel of ease to the parish church of South Leith, a scheme was set on foot to restore a small six-sided building hard by, which went by the name of "Chapter House," but which had become entirely filled with earth and rubbish with trees growing out of it. Wonderful to relate, this was found to be a beautiful Gothic building which had once stood over a well of water, to which steps led down. There could be no doubt in the minds of antiquarians that this had been the famous "Trid Well" of pre-Reformation fame. The building has been put into complete repair. The saint's name is met with in many different parts of Scotland, but in some cases it has undergone such changes as to render it almost unrecognizable. It occurs under the forms of Tredwell, Tradwell, Traddles, Trallew, Trallen, etc, and is found as far north as the Orkney Islands."
It may be noticed here that legends speak of the coming of St Brigid to Scotland in an earlier century; there was certainly a widespread devotion to her, and one of her disciples founded a monastery for women at Abernethy, to which it is possible she may have come. The sacred songs of the Western Islanders are filled with the praises of Brigid, Patrick and Columba. Many churches too, bear St Brigid's name.
Other Irish female recluses visited Scotland. Among these were St. Kentigerna, daughter of one Irish prince and wife of another, who took up her abode on an island in Loch Lomond, after her husband's death. The island acquired the name of Innis no Catilich ("The Nun's Island"), and is still so called. The old parish church of Buchanan, built there, was dedicated to her. It is now in ruins. St Kentigerna died in 733. A century later two other holy women from Ireland came over to Scotland to live a more hidden life and to pray for the people of the country. One of these emigrants was St. Baya (or Vey), a virgin recluse who lived in solitude on the island of Little Cumbrae, in the Firth of Clyde, where ruins of her chapel are to be seen. St. Maura, another Irish virgin, who governed a community of nuns on the mainland, used to visit her friend Vey for spiritual converse from time to time. She died at Kilmaurs ("Church of Maura") in Ayrshire. These two saints flourished in the ninth century.
With St Kentigerna came her young son Foelan, both being in charge of her brother, - Comgan. The latter was prince of his province in Ireland, but had to fly for his life on account of opposition to his Christian rule, and took with him for safety his sister and her son. St. Comgan lived in great austerity in Lochatsh, Argyleshire, and died at an advanced age. There were many dedications in his honor in different parts of the country. One of the most important was Turriff, in Aberdeenshire, where a collegiate church was founded in the thirteenth century for the benefit of thirteen poor men who were maintained there. It was known as St. Comgan's Hospital.
St. Foelan (or Fillan) spent some years with his uncle at Lochalsh, but the scene of his labors was Perthshire, where Strathfillan is called after him. Near Houston in that district are the ruins of an old church which bore his name, a stone hard by is called Fillan's Seat, and a holy well once existed there, until a parish minister of the eighteenth century caused it to be filled up as a remnant of superstition. A fair was formerly held there also on the saint's feast day. In Strathfillan are the ruins of another ancient chapel, close to the Holy Pool of St. Fillan, whose waters in Catholic ages were believed to have power in curing the insane. Even now it is much frequented — chiefly by Protestants — for the cure of various maladies; about a century ago a visitor relates that he saw hundreds of persons bathe in the water: the stones at the side were covered with gloves, handkerchiefs and bandages — a relic of Catholic practice in bygone days. Near Struan Church, in the same county, another well of this saint was once greatly esteemed as miraculous; St. Fillan's fair was held there annually on his feast, January 9, and continued after the Reformation.
There are two notable relics of St. Fillan still in existence. His crozier is in the National Museum, Edinburgh; his bell, once kept near his holy pool, was carried off to England by a visitor more than a century ago, but was restored to Scotland later, and is now preserved in the museum of the Antiquarian Society in Edinburgh. The relic of the arm of the saint is said to have been instrumental in gaining for Robert the Bruce the victory of Bannockburn. The custodian had feared to risk the loss of the relic, and had brought to the battlefield the empty case only, but on opening the latter before the battle, the relic was found within it; the miracle is said by the chronicler, Boece, to have given such valor and confidence to the army that their success was the result. The saint's feast was restored to Scotland by Leo XIII.
St. Adamnan, abbot of Iona, is famous for his Vita S. Columbae, styled by a Protestant writer of repute "the most complete piece of such biography that all Europe can boast of, not only at so early a period, but even through the whole Middle Ages." He was born in Ireland, about 626, and belonged to the family of St. Columba. At the age of thirty-five he entered the monastery of Iona, and was raised to the abbacy about twenty years later. For learning and literary ability he ranks very high among ecclesiastics of his time, being well versed in Scripture and acquainted with both Hebrew and Greek; he is extolled for his holy and penitential life by St. Bede, Alcuin and many other of his biographers. Devotion to this saint is evidenced by the many churches dedicated to him, and the place-names still in use. His chief churches were Aboyne and Forvie (Aberdeenshire), Forglen (Banffshire), Kileunan (Argyleshire), Dull, Blair-Athole and Grantully (Perthshire), Kinneff (Kincardineshire), and Abriachan (Inyerness-shire). Many holy wells bore his name, and fairs were held on his feast day in some places. The name of Adamnan has passed into various forms in different localities; it has been, corrupted to Aunan, Arnty, Eunan, Ounan, Teunan ("Saint-Eunan"), Skeulan, Arnold, Eonan and Ewen — the latter being a favorite Christian name in the Highlands. St. Adamnan's feast falls on September 23.
In the same eighth century flourished St Maelrubha, another Irish saint, very popular in Scotland. He passed over from Ireland in his thirtieth year and founded at Applecross, in Ross-shire, a monastery which eventually rivaled the Irish monastery where he had been trained; over it he ruled as abbot for more than fifty years. Throughout the whole of the west of Scotland and the adjacent islands he acquired a widespread reputation for sanctity. Scottish tradition has ranked, him with the martyrs, as having been slain by pagan Norsemen, but in this the Irish record do not concur. Antiquarians have maintained that with the exception of St. Columba, no saint had more churches dedicated in his honor in the western districts of Scotland than St Maelrubha, As in the case of St Adamnan, this saint also is known wider the most varied appellations — Malruf, Molroy, Mury, Maree, Errew, Olrou and the like. At many places fairs, were held, on his feast: at least twenty-one churches are enumerated as bearing his name - many of them, formerly considered as dedicated to St. Mary,.are now held by historians as having St Maree for titular.
Loch Maree, a beautiful fresh-water lake in Ross-shire, renowned for its magnificent scenery, is the most interesting locality connected with this saint. One of its many islands contains the remains of an ancient chapel and burying ground; a deep well near it was famed for the efficacy of its water in curing lunacy. The feast of St. Maelrubha falls on August 27; it was restored to the Scottish calendar by Leo XIII.
St. Adrian and his companion martyrs belong to a later century. An old legend, now held as unauthentic, made him a native of Hungary, who journeyed to Scotland with several companions to preach the faith there. It has been demonstrated by modem antiquarians that this saint is identical with Odhran, an Irish missionary, who took up his abode with several companions on the Isle of May, in the Firth of Forth, and there founded a monastery, which became in later ages a famous place of pilgrimage, after he and his monks had been martyred by the Danes. A Benedictine priory, under the jurisdiction of Reading abbey, in Berkshire, was established there by King David I. in the twelfth century; it was later transferred to the Austin Canons. St. Monan, one of the martyrs, who had preached the Gospel in Fifeshire, became patron of Abercrombie, in that county; the town became known as St Monance, on account of the translation thither of the saint's relics, but is now generally called by its former title. St. Adrian and his companions were put to death about the year 875.
St. Geradin (or Gervadius) was an Irish hermit who took up his abode in the province of Moray in the latter half of the ninth century. The site of his cave was long pointed out at Lossimouth, now an attractive little watering place about five miles from Elgin. For many centuries this habitation was left intact; an ancient Gothic doorway and small window were built into the face of the rode, which acquired the name of "Holy Man's Head." More than a hundred years ago the stonework was demolished by a drunken sailor, and eventually the whole rock, with the sacred spring known as Gerardin's Well, was scooped out by stone quarriers. No trace is left of it. The saint had an oratory at Kinnedar also; the spot is now identified with the churchyard of Drainie, the parish in which Lossiemouth is situated.
Tradition tells that the saint was accustomed on stormy nights to wave a lantern to and fro, in order to warn passing vessels of the proximity of dangerous rocks. It is interesting to find this tradition perpetuated in the armorial bearings of the modem burgh of Lossiemouth: St. Gerardin, lantern in hand, is there portrayed, and above him runs the motto: Per noctem lux. A recently built Presbyterian church there has been named — contrary to the usual custom — after this local saint St. Gerardin died in 934.
Many illustrious examples might be added to the above: the great Bishops Aidan, Finan, Colman, Malachy — all prominent in the history of their times — as well as others less known, such as SS. Boniface, Ronan, Voloc, Mamock, etc.; the abbots Regulus, Canice, Kieran, Kevin, Cumine, Baitan and the martyred Blaithmaic; the hermits Fiacre, Molios, Ethernasc, Fechin, Mahew, Fillan the Leper and others; these with many more took part in the evangelization of Scotland by prayer, preaching, and — more powerful than all else — the virtues of a saintly life.
Enough has been said to show the immensity of Scotland's spiritual debt to the Island of Saints, and her acknowledgment of it by the loving reverence paid throughout the ages of faith to those holy sons and daughters of Ireland. May that devotion revive and increase in our own generation; then we may surely hope to experience the effects of the powerful intercession of the saints in the restoration of the faith of old to the people of Scotland.
Michael Barrett, O. S. B.
Fort Augustus Abbey, Scotland.
The American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. 44, (1919), 331-343.
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