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