Celtic and Old English Saints          3 September

* St. MacNisse of Connor
* St. Balin of Techsaxon
* St. Cuthburga of Wimborne
* St. Quenburga of Wimborne
* St. Hereswitha of Chelles
* St. Edward of England
* St. Lon-garadh (see #2)
* St. Gregory the Great (see #3)

St. MacNisse, Bishop of Connor, Dalriada
(Macnisius, Aengus McNisse. Macanisius)

Died 506-514. Saint MacNisse, a disciple of Saint Olean (Bolcan?), was
said to have been baptized as an infant by Saint Patrick. After MacNisse
made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Rome, Patrick consecrated him the
first abbot-bishop of Kells, which became the diocese of Connor,
Ireland. His life is filled with miracles, such as changing the course
of a river for the convenience of his monks and rescuing a child about
to be executed for his father's crime by causing him to be carried by
the wind from the executioners to his arms. Various ancient lists record
different dates for his death (Benedictines, Delaney, Husenbeth,

Troparion of St MacNis tone 8
Having learned thy faith from Ireland Enlightener, O holy MacNis,/ thou
didst found a shining beacon of the True Faith, the Monastery of Kells,/
from which was bequeathed to Christ's church a treasure of piety and
wonder, which is with us to this day./ Inspired by thine example, O
Saint, we beseech thee to intercede with Christ our God/ that we may be
given grace to follow thee in the way of salvation.

Some miracles of St MacNisse:

 In the " Feilire " of St. Oengus, yet in a very enigmatical form, the feast 
of St. Mac Nisse is entered at the 3rd of September. Thus rendered in Dr. 
Whitley Stokes' English translation:

" Colman of Druim Ferta : Longarad a delightful sun; Mac Nisse with 
thousands, from great Conderi."

The birth of Macnessius is said to have been manifested to St. Patrick, and 
long before the time of its occurrence. St. Macnessius, also written Mac 
Nissi', or Nisa, was the son of Fobrec or Fobreach, as stated in the Annals 
of Tigernach. His mother was named Cnes, a daughter to Conchaid or Conchaide 
of Dal Cethern. The original name of this saint is said to have been Oengus. 
.. In a fountain of water, which miraculously sprung from the earth, it is 
stated, that our saint was baptised by the Apostle of the Irish nation. 
Afterwards, he was known as Mac Cneise or the son of Cnes.

 He was placed under the charge of Bishop Bolcan - a disciple of St. 
Patrick - while he was still very young. To him, the son of Ness was 
entrusted as a foster-child, and from that holy bishop his education had 
been received. When young, he was sent to take charge of certain cows and 
their calves. A deep slumber then oppressed him. Meantime, the calves took 
advantage of their youthful herdsman's sleep to approach the cows, and to 
draw the accustomed sustenance from them. We are told, that the Bishop's 
mother - also the nurse of our saint - felt displeased at his neglect, and 
struck the child. This, however, she did not with impunity; for that hand, 
with which she chastised the youth, became powerless. Whereupon, the Bishop 
required his foster-son to pray for her. Immediately on complying with such 
the offending member was again restored to its former strength. From such a 
circumstance, and owing to other .miracles of a similar nature, the fame of 
this youthful soldier of Christ was greatly extended.

Our saint was a most docile pupil to his master, while going through the 
course of elementary studies. When St. Patrick was on a journey through 
Dalaradia, having met Bolcan with our saint, he thus addressed the former : 
" You and your successors shall always be subject to the rule of this your 
companion and to his successors." The Apostle's allusion, in this prophetic 
declaration, referred to the Bishopric subsequently obtained.

The latter illustrious man gave certain particular charges, regarding the 
education and training of the child. These trusts, on being assumed, were 
faithfully observed and fulfilled. It would appear, from some remarks in the 
Irish Apostle's life, that the saint, when a boy, carried his master's books 
in a leather case ; that he had been entrusted with the care of those 
articles necessary for Divine service ; and that he probably attended the 
Bishop in the capacity of servitor at his different episcopal ministrations.

 Having proved himself perfect in every good work, according to tradition, 
St. Macnessius had been raised to the episcopal dignity by St. Patrick. We 
know not the year of St. Macnissius' ordination ; Ware informs us, however, 
that he was advanced to the episcopal dignity in the fifth century. St. 
Macnessius is said to have made a pilgrimage to the seat of the Apostles, 
and to Jerusalem, visiting also other remarkable places in the Holy Land....

 The holy Bishop was distinguished for the performance of miracles. He was 
inebriated, also, with a spirit of prophesy, and illuminated with Divine 
Revelations. Among the many miracles which he wrought, St. Macnesius healed 
two men, one of whom was blind, and the other was a leper. They presented 
themselves to him in full confidence of being relieved from their 
infirmities ; and having first washed themselves, in a fountain of clear 
water, one of them received the gift of sight, and his companion was 
cleansed from his leprosy, through the prayers of our saint.

He also delivered a boy, named Colman, from a violent death. A certain 
wicked man, who killed the father of this boy, had seized upon the youth, 
who was under the guardianship of his friends. The tyrant had resolved upon 
putting him to death. However, our saint interfered to preserve his life. 
Finding the cruel man inexorable, Macnessius asked as a favour, that the boy 
should not be slain until brought to a pile of stones, which was conspicuous 
at some distance. This request he obtained, and afterwards our saint went to 
the place. There he engaged in prayer. The youth was thrown into the air, so 
that his body might be received on the points of his executioners' spears. 
Immediately, however, he was conveyed away by Angels, and deposited on the 
holy Bishop's bosom free from all injury. Our saint afterwards nurtured, and 
diligently taught him the rudiments of Religion, and a knowledge of the 
Sacred Scriptures.

 In that Life of our saint, contained in the Salamancan Manuscript, we read, 
that when Macnessius returned to his native country, he miraculously changed 
the current of a river named Curi. This he did, in order that the murmuring 
of its waters should not disturb infirm persons in a monastery, which he 
built at a place called Disart, or Desert. The waters afterwards took a 
distant course from that spot. On a certain day, when he laboured there with 
his monks, he had a revelation, that in company with other holy persons, St. 
Brigid was on the way to his house, in order to confer with him on religious 
subjects. Being greatly rejoiced at this interior admonition, he addressed 
his community with these words: "Brethren, let us give over this work and 
retire to the monastery; we must prepare whatever may be necessary for the 
holy guests, who are journeying hither, and who shall arrive during this 

In his Acts, it is stated, that in company with St. Patrick and St. Brigid, 
the holy bishop had been journeying through Momonia, and he passed through a 
place, called Lann-ela. While his companions passed on, our saint remained 
there, and perceiving this, St. Patrick sent for St. Macnessius. When this 
latter came up, he was asked the cause for his stopping. Our saint then said 
to St. Patrick: " Over that place in which I stood, I saw the Heavens 
opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending." St. Patrick 
hereupon said : "It therefore behoves us to leave religious men here to 
serve God." Our saint replied : " Holy Father, if it please you, do not thus 
determine. For a child of my family, who shall be born sixty years from this 
day, and whose name is to be Colman Ela, shall there found a celebrated
monastery." And, as the Divine Spirit had revealed this to the man of God, 
so his prophecy was afterwards duly fulfilled. It is said, while performing 
his journeys, through reverence for the Gospels, this holy man was 
accustomed to bear books containing its text, on his stooped shoulders, they 
being secured by no kind of fastening. These, with such like virtues, and 
also miracles, distinguished our holy bishop, during his sojourn upon 

It is related, in the Bollandists' Acts of our saint, that through the 
effect of his prayers, St. Macnessius obtained the birth of a son for a 
woman advanced in age, and who for fifteen years previously had not given 
birth to any offspring. Again, we are told, the father to the great St. 
Comgall of Bangor, who was named Setna, had been on a journey, accompanied 
by his wife Brig, occupying a seat in a chariot. Seeing our saint travelling 
on foot, Setna said to his wife : "O woman, descend that the Bishop may take 
a place in this chariot." But, on hearing these words, our saint replied : 
"Do not disturb her, for she shall give birth to a king, who will rule over 
many." This was a prediction referring to St. Comgall's future eminence. As 
it is probable, that St. Comgall of Bangor had been born, in the year 510, 
and as it is said our saint delivered a prophecy regarding him the day 
before his birth, we may most probably conclude, St. Macniscius, Bishop of 
Connor, had been living in that year. Our saint did not survive the birth of 
St. Comgall for many years. Other miracles are recorded in his Acts. A town 
that refused hospitality to our saint was immediately consumed, as a 
punishment from on high.

St. Macnessius is said to have been advanced in years, when the time of his 
death arrived. This was in the early part of the sixth century, although the 
exact date has not been ascertained. However, he departed this life, on the 
3rd day of September, and in the year 514, according to the most probable 
accounts ; although the Annals of Innisfallen name the year 506, as a date 
for his death, with the words, " Quies Macnisse Condire." The "Chronicum 
Scotorum" places his death at a.d. 508. Others have it during the year 507; 
the Annals of Tigernach at a.d. 510 and Colgan, a.d. 513. The holy Bishop 
and founder of the see was buried in the city of Connor.

Source: Canon John O'Hanlon, Lives of the Irish Saints, Vol IX.


St. Balin (Ballon, Balanus) of Techsaxon
7th century. Handsome, well-loved Saint Balin was the brother of Saint
Gerald, one of four sons of an Anglo-Saxon king. The four accompanied
Saint Colman of Lindisfarne to Iona, then retired to Connaught, where
they settled at Tecsaxono (the house of Saxons) in the diocese of Tuam
(Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

St. Cuthburga of Wimborne, Widow and Abbess
Died c. 725; feast day also on August 31. Saint Cuthburga, sister to
Saint Quenburga and King Ina of Wessex, married the learned and pious
King Aldfrid of Northumbria in 688. After bearing him two sons, Aldfrid
gave Cuthburga permission to enter religious life. She became a nun at
Barking monastery under the direction of Saint Hildelith, and then in
705 with her sister Saint Quenburga, she founded the double monastery at
Wimborne in Dorset and governed it as abbess. The convent was strictly
cloistered. Saint Lioba, who was formed by Cuthburga, reports that even
prelates were forbidden to enter the nuns' quarters; Cuthburga would
communicate with them through a little hatch. Hagiographers describe
Cuthburga as austere with herself, kind to others, and steadfast in
prayer and fasting. This convent produced the band of missionary nuns
who helped evangelize Germany (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).

St. Quenburga (Coenburga) of Wimborne
Died c. 735. Saint Quenburga, Saint Cuthburga, and the future King Ina
of Wessex were the children of Cenred, a lord of Wessex. The two sisters
founded Wimborne Abbey in Dorset about 705. Although it was a double
(and possibly, triple) abbey, it was intended primarily for nuns.
Cuthburga was its first abbess. Wimborne was important for having
produced Saints Lioba and Thecla, who were among the many religious who
assisted Saint Boniface in his efforts to evangelize Germany (Farmer).

St. Hereswitha of Chelles, Widow
Died c. 690. Princess Hereswitha of Northumbria was the sister of Saint
Hilda and mother of Saints Sexburga, Ethelburga, and Withburga. She
spent her golden years as a nun in Chelles convent in France

Translation of the Relics of St. Edward, King of England and Martyr,
to the Church of Saint Edward at Brookwood, Near Guildford

Troparion for St Edward the Martyr tone 4
Celebrating the newly manifest commemoration of the holy King Edward,
who shone forth of old in the virtues and suffered undeservedly we all
bow down before the Icon of his honoured countenance and in gladness cry
out: Truly Thou art wonderful in Thy Saints, O God.

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