Saint of the Day – 16 March – Saint Finian Lobhar, surnamed “the Luminous Leper” (Died c 560) Bishop, Confessor, Abbot, Founder of Monasteries, mystic, miracle-worker. Born at Bregia, Leinster, Ireland and died in c 560 at Clonmore, Ireland of natural causes. He is also known as Finian Lobur, Finian the Leper, Finnian…, Fintan…
St Finian was born of an illustrious family. He received the surname of Lobhar, or “the Leper,” from the circumstance of his being afflicted with the leprosy, or with some similar scrofulous disorder, during many years of his life.
When grown to be a boy, Finian was educated by a senior, named Brendan, the Saint, to whom he had been brought. By him, the child was instructed in the Christian doctrine and in a knowledge of Sacred Scripture and holy literature. Having received his course of training, with the master’s permission, Finian set out for the south of Ireland, to which part his mother belonged. There, he found the Bishop, called Fathlad, who honourably received him and finding that Finian was remarkable for his sanctity and gravity of demeanour, it was deemed right to promote our saint to Holy Orders.
We are even told, he attained to the Episcopal rank. He was Consecrated by Bishop Fathlad and soon his virtues and miracles, rendered him very renowned. He had frequent angelic visions and colloquies with the heavenly messenger, so that he was thus consoled and comforted.
One day, a certain woman came to him and brought with her a small boy, who, from the time of his birth, was blind, mute and a leper. For this afflicted creature, Finian prayed to the Almighty but received for answer, that he must bear the leprosy himself, if he willed the child to be healed. Finian cheerfully accepted that condition, when, like holy Job, he was covered with ulcers from the sole of his foot even to the top of his head. At the same time, the boy was healed and the saint bore his infirmity, not only with patience, but even with joy.
Finian sat reading one day by the edge of a lake, into which his book accidently fell and it sank to the bottom. The water was so deep, no-one could recover it, however, after an hour’s immersion, it came to the surface, in the presence of many persons there assembled. What was even more wonderful, on being restored to the saint, it seemed to have undergone no damage. There Finian built a Basilica and he established a cemetery, where miracles were wrought, in favour of some sick persons, during his life and after his death. It is believed that the famous Abbey of Innis-fallen, which stood in an island of that name, in the great and beautiful lake of Lough-Lane in the county of Kerry, was situate in this lake and was founded by our Saint.
He founded a second Monastery, called Ardfinnan, he built in Tipperary and a third at Cluainmore Madoc, in Leinster, where he was buried.
St Finian died on 2 February but, says Colgan, who wrote his Vita, his festival is kept on 16 March at all the above-mentioned places.