Discover Scotland's Saints, some are well known, but most of the rest will not be. Piecing together the lives of these early Catholics in Scotland is not easy and is beset by legend, poor translations and often quite scant information. However, there is much to learn, not least it tells us something about the people who venerated these men and women.
St Chronan, 641AD
Little is known of our Saint but what we do know is that he was held in high regard for his sanctity by the people of Cunningham Ayrshire. It is also said, as he lay on his death bed he was found to be continually praying the words of Psalm 84:1 - 2:
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
St Kentigerna, 733AD
St Kentigerna was of royal Irish linneage in Leinster, but along with her brother St Comgan and her son St Fillian, fled and settled in Scotland. St Kentigerna retired to Inchcailloch, an Island on Loch Lomond. Her holiness was rewarded after her death with a church that saw continual use up until 1770 and the cemetery until 1947. It is believed she is buried there to.
To see the full story, by Mairi-Claire McCeady click here.
St Blaithmaic, 750AD - ?
Our Saint was of royal Irish blood but he forsook the wealth and status that position laid upon him and entered holy orders in Ireland. His wisdom and virtue promoted him to Abbot but our Saint was not happy there. He had desired martyrdom and sought permission to go preach the gospel to unbelievers, which was refused. However eventually our restless Saint was able to persuade them to let him go which lead him to Iona.
It was on Iona he recieved a prophetic word from God that Danish maruaders were going to attack the Island warning the remaining monks (evidently this was anticipated already with a large proportion of the monks and Abbot having left for safety in Kells) of the impending attack and those to weak for martyrdom to hide. St Blaithmaic was not afraid and whilst offering Mass in the Sanctuary the Danes crossed into the Church and demanded the relics of St Columba which would have been housed in gold and other valuable materials. He refused to tell them where the Monks had hid them and there on the Altar steps he was cut down.
His life was recorded by the Benedictine Abbot Walafrid Strabo (808-849) of Reichenau and others also recorded what appeared to be a popular Saint who interceded for many. When he died is up for debate with different sources giving dates ranging from the 790’s to 825AD.
St Eochod, Apostle to Galloway, 597AD
One of the twelve chosen by St Columba to evangelise the Picts with Eochod being sent to Galloway. Little is known of this Saint who seems to appear in Dom Michael Barratt’s great work; ‘A Calendar of Scottish Saints’, as St Euchadius.
St Voloc, 5th-6th Century
St Voloc was said to be Irish and moved to the Northern parts of Scotland to spread the faith. It was here he was raised to Episcopal rank and laboured into long old age, when at his death, angels were said to surround his bed. For his own sins and those who he laboured for he lived a life of great austerity. His house was made of woven reeds and had much regard for the poor. His life was one of holiness and many miracles were attributed to him. The chief area of his veneration was in Logic-Mar and Dunmeth Parishes which now lie in ruin, situated with Aboyne to the East and Ballater to its West.
What was quite a shock when I was doing a bit of research on the fine Saint is that there is a St Voloc Festival in the American State of Texas! They dress up I think with Braveheart in mind but what an interesting link that is! There was of course in times past a fair held in Logic-Mar in his name, that included the pleasant ditty:
‘Wala-fair in Logic Mar, the Thirtieth day of Januar’.
Little is known of this Bishop who can also go by the spelling ‘Maglastian’. What we do know is that he was deemed an ‘illustrious Bishop’ in the time of King Achaius, a Scottish King who reigned in the same period as Charlemagne. He chief cultus was centred in what is now a small one street village called Kinglassie outside of Kirkcaldy in Fife. As you can imagine (if you have been keeping up with the Saints) there are a couple of wells in his name, including; St Glass’ Well in the same area and another in Dundrennan, Dumfries and Galloway.
St Adamnan of Coldingham, 686 AD approx.
This Saint has a wonderful story; a wild life the man led before God intervened and wrought a dramatic conversion. So changed was Adamnan that he sought the counsel of an Irish Priest on what he should do and how to make penance for his sins. The Priest said he should only eat twice a week until they meet again. Unfortunately, the Irish Priest returned to Ireland and died shortily thereafter. But Adamnan was unperturbed and kept up this penance of only eating twice a week for the rest of his long life. He became a Monk and then Priest in the Abbey at Coldingham, which St Ebba was Abbot over, and gained the gift of Prophecy.
Much is unknown about this Saint, but he was venerated in the Southern Perthshire Parish of Kilmadock near Doune Castle and a fair held in his honour there to.