- Feb 6, 2014Celtic and Old English Saints 5 February
* Ss. Indract and Dominica of Glastonbury
* St. Buo of Ireland
* St. Fingen of Metz
* St. Vodalus
St. Indract and St. Dominica of Glastonbury, martyrs
Died c. 708-710. An old legend makes Indract an Irish chieftain, who
became the 21st abbot of Iona. About 854, Indract and his sister
Dominica (Drusa) set out from Cornwall or Somerset on a pilgrimage to
Rome. On their return from Rome, they were killed by heathen Saxons
together with nine of their Irish comrades near Glastonbury. A strong
cultus arose immediately. Their relics were enshrined at Glastonbury
Abbey, which legend connects to Saints Patrick, Brigid, and Benignus
(f.d. November 9) because it was first dedicated to Blessed Mary and
Saint Patrick and was served by Irish monks as late as the 10th century.
A still later legend has made Indract and Dominica contemporaries of
(Benedictines, D'Arcy, Encyclopaedia, Fitzpatrick, Kenney, Montague,
The Irish Saints at Glastonbury c.700
On this day in the Old English Calendar commemorated SS Indractus,
Dominica and their Companions. We have to rely on William of Malmsbury
for information about these Martyrs, who were venerated at Glastonbury
Abbey. Indractus was an Irish chieftain, who had been to Rome on
pilgrimage with his wife, Dominica, and nine others, and on their return
journey they decided to visit the "Second Rome", as Glastonbury was
called, because of its holy associations.
There is a tradition that both S.Patrick and S.Bridget spent some time
at Glastonbury, and there is a district called Beckery, where Bridget is
supposed to have founded a Convent at the foot of Weary-all Hill. It was
at Mass in the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene there, according to the
History of John of Glastonbury, that King Arthur had the vision of the
Cross and Our Lady with the Holy Child, which is commemorated in the
Arms of the Abbey. Another Irish Saint claimed as a visitor to
Glastonbury is Benignus, locally known as S.Bennings, who was servant
and successor to S.Patrick. He settled at Meare three miles to the west,
where he died, and his body was translated to the Abbey in 901, some
four hundred years later.
These Irish connections may well have been an added attraction to
Indractus and his fellow pilgrims, who settled in the district of
Shapwick. The local people were heathen and thought the party were
wealthy merchants, whereas their scrips only contained parsley and other
seeds to be taken back to Ireland, and their pilgrim staves were tipped
with brass and not gold. When they had killed them, the natives threw
their bodies into a deep pit, but a column of light appeared by night
revealing the grave of the Christian martyrs. Their bodies were taken up
and buried in the Abbey in the eighth century during the restoration
under King Ina.
St. Buo of Ireland
Died c. 900. In the 7th and 8th century, Irish missionaries were working
in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, before the discovery of the islands by
the Norwegians in 860. When they arrived they found Irish bells, books,
and staffs. The Irish geographer Dicuil in "De mensura orbis terrae"
notes that "certain clerics remained on the Iceland Island from February
1 until August 1." Saint Buo was one of the distinguished missionaries
who evangelized the province around Esinberg, while he was still a very
young man (D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick2, Little, Neeson, O'Hanlon, Toynbee).
St. Fingen of Metz, Abbot
Died c. 1005. Saint Fingen, a celebrated Irish abbot, migrated to the
kingdom of Lothaire, where he acquired a reputation for restoring old
monasteries. One of them, Saint Symphorien's, was given over to him
about 991 by Bishop Saint Adalbero (f.d. December 15) and an Irish
community. At the insistence of the dowager Empress Saint Adelaide (f.d.
16), Pope John XVII issued a charter that declared that only Irish monks
would administer the abbey as long as they could be found. She obtained
a similar charter from Otto III in 992.
Fingen's final work, with the help of seven of his Irish monks, was the
restoration of Saint-Vannes in Verdun. By 1001, Saint-Vannes was
attracting distinguished applicants, such as Blessed Frederick of Arras
(f.d. January 6), count of Verdun, and his friend Blessed Richard (f.d.
June 14), dean of the diocese of Rheims, who later became abbot of
Saint-Vannes. Fingen's relics can be found in Saint-Clement's Church in
Metz, where the necrology highly praises him (D'Arcy, Fitzpatrick2,
Gougaud, Kenney, Montague, O'Hanlon, Tommasini).
St. Vodalus (Vodoaldus, Voel), Hermit
Died c. 725. Vodalus was an Irish or Scottish monk who crossed over to
Gaul and settled near Saint Mary's monastery, which was governed by
Saint Adalgard. Following a misunderstanding, Vodalus returned home, but
was later divinely guided back to serve as a missionary. He died a
recluse near Soissons (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson, D'Arcy).
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2nd edition, revised and updated by Catherine Rachel John.
New York: Penguin Books.
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P. J. Kenedy & Sons. [Attwater 2]
Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.
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Principal Saints of the Christian Year. NY: Facts on File.
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Saints of the British Isles Complied
from Ancient Calendars.
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Everyday in the Year. NY: Benziger Brothers.
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Dictionary. New York: Hawthorn Books.
D'Arcy, M. R. (1974). The Saints of Ireland. Saint Paul, Minnesota:
Irish American Cultural Institute. [This is probably the most
useful book to choose to own on the Irish saints. The author
provides a great deal of historical context in which to place the
lives of the saints.]
Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints, NY:
Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints, October. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.
Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
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New York: Funk and Wagnalls.
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Collins (tr.). Dublin: Gill & Sons.
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Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints.
London: Virtue & Co.
Kenney, J. F. (1929). Sources for Early History of Ireland,
vol.1, Ecclesiastical. New York: Columbia University Press.
Little, G. A. (1946). Brendan the Navigator. Dublin:
Gill & Son.
Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.
Moran, P. (1879). Irish Saints in Great Britian.
Neeson, E. (1967). Book of Irish Saints. Cork: Mercer Press.
O'Hanlon, J. (1875). Lives of Irish Saints, 10 vol. Dublin.
O'Kelly, J. J. (1952). Ireland's Spiritual Empire. Dublin:
M. H. Gill.
Ryan, J. (1931). Irish Monasticism. Dublin: Talbot Press.
Roeder, H. (1956). Saints and Their Attributes, Chicago: Henry
Tabor, M. E. (1908). The Saints in Art with Their
Attributes and Symbols Alphabetically Arranged.
London: Methuen & Co.
Tommasini, Fra A. (1937). Irish Saints in Italy. London:
Sands and Company.
Toynbee, A. J. (1951). Study of History (vol. II). New
York: Oxford Press.
Walsh, M. (ed.). (1985). Butler's Lives of the Saints.
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White, K. E. (1992). Guide to the Saints, NY: Ivy Books.
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