Saint of the Day – 18 December – Saint Flannán of Killaloe (7th Century) Bishop, Abbot, Missionary to the Hebrides Islands, renowned for his preaching. Born in Thomond, Ireland in the 7th Century and died in the 7th to 8th Century’s in Killaloe, Munster, Ireland. Patronages – Diocese of Killaloe and Country Clare,Ireland. Additional Memorial – 28 August on a local Irish Calendar.
St Flannan is honoured in a particular way in Killaloe, a small village on the border of Counties Clare and Tipperary. The Cathedral Church of Killaloe is named after St Flannan.
Born sometime in the seventh century, Flannan was the son of an Irish chieftain, Turlough of Thomond. He joined the Monastery in Killaloe, which the famous Irish Abbot St Molua founded.
A legend about how Flannan became the successor of Abbot Molua says that one day, Flannan was baking bread for the Monks and for the poor. He worked in the Monastery kitchen for thirty-six hours without rest!. In the middle of the night, light began to stream from his fingers into the darkness around him, enabling him to keep baking throughout the night. When Abbot Molua heard about this young Monk’s dedication to service, he appointed him as the next Abbot of Killaloe.
Unsurprisingly, Flannan, before and during his tenure as Abbot, gained a reputation for his unwavering charity, care of the needy and hospitality. The families surrounding the Abbey. whom he looked after, clamoured for Flannan to be appointed a Bishop.
Accordingly, Flannan travelled to Rome where Pope John IV Consecrated him the first Bishop of Killaloe. He was an immensely popular and beloved Bishop, including in the Hebrides Islands, where he was particularly renowned for his preaching.
The Feast of St Flannan is celebrated throughout Ireland on 18 December, the day in which it is in fact commemorated by the Martyrology of Tallaght, in the form Flannain meic Tairdelbaig, although it is also celebrated under the date of 28 August.
The Flannan Islands, off the west coast of the Scottish Isle of Lewis, certainly owe their name to this Irish Saint.
Saint Flannan’s cultus was confirmed and he was Canonised on 19 June 1902 by Pope Leo XIII.