“Tomorrow, 9th September, one of the saints remembered by the Church is St Ciaran of Clonmacnoise. He was born around the year 512 in Fuerty, a town located in the northern part of County Roscommon, Ireland. The son of Beoit, a carpenter, Ciaran inherited a love of learning from his mother’s side of the family, as his maternal grandfather had been a bard, poet and historian.
Baptised by Deacon Justus, who also served as his first tutor, the boy Ciaran worked as a cattle herder. Even this early in his life, stories testifying to St Ciaran’s holiness are told. He continued his education at the monastery of Clonard, which was led by St Finian. St Ciaran quickly gained the reputation of being the most learned monk at Clonard, and was asked to serve as a tutor to the daughter of the King of Cuala, even as he continued his own studies.
Besides being renowned for his brilliance and wisdom, St Ciaran also had a great capacity for friendship with other leaders of the early Irish Church. After completing his studies under St Finian, St Ciaran left Clonard and moved to the monastery of Inishmore in the Aran Islands, which was directed by St Enda. The year 544 found St Ciaran settling by the River Shannon and here he founded the great monastery of Clonmacnoise. A few months after he founded this monastery, St Ciaran caught the plague and died, only a young man in his thirties. This monastery became Ireland’s centre of study, art and literature. To this day, tourists and artists visit the site of St Ciaran’s monastery to see some of the finest monastic ruins and high crosses in Ireland.
There are many stories and legends associated with St Ciaran. One of them takes place at a time of famine, when it was St Ciaran’s turn to carry a sack of oats to the mill in order to provide a little food for the monks, and he prayed that the oats would become fine wheat. While St Ciaran was singing the Psalms with pure heart and soul, the single sack of oats were miraculously transformed into four sacks of the best wheat. St Ciaran returned home and baked bread with this wheat, which the older monks said was the best bread they had ever tasted. These loaves not only satisfied their hunger, they were said to heal every sick person in the monastery who ate them.”
– From “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”