Tuesday, 2 October 2012

                 Saint Cainnech – 11th October
Saint Cainnech of Aghaboe, known as Saint Kenneth in Scotland (and
affectionately called Saint Kenny by locals) was an abbot
and a scholar. He is said to be one of the original twelve
apostles of Ireland sent out under the blessing of Saint
Finnian. The twelve were Ciaran of Saighir, Cairan of
Clonmacnoise, Brendan of Birr, Brendan of Clonfert,
Columba of Terryglass, Columba of Iona, Mobhi of
Glasnevin, Ruadan of Lorrha, Senan of Iniscathay, Ninnidh
of Loch Erne, Laserian of Leighlin and Cainnech (or Canice)
of Aghaboe. Saint Canice’s feast day is on 11th October and
he is the patron saint of the city of Kilkenny.
Unlike his friend and companion Saint Columba, Saint Canice did not guard an impressive copy of the scriptures, but he did write two important commentaries on the Gospels. One of these commentaries became nicknamed the Chain of Cainnech and was considered to be one of the most important commentaries inBritain, Scotland and Ireland right up into the
Middle Ages. Although he founded numerous
monasteries both in Scotland and Ireland, his
settlement at Aghaboe was to become the most
important. Some tales connected with him talk of
his love for nature and his gifted style of
preaching. He seems to have favoured a very
stark form of monasticism that can be seen
elsewhere in Ireland. He is said to have been
responsible for the building of monastic cells on
the islands of Eninnis and Ibdon and on the
shores of Loch Laggan (the remains can still be
seen at this spot). In his old age he retired to a
hermits life that he seemed to favour and spent
his last remaining days in prayer in a cell on the
island of Loch Cree.

There are quite a number of strange tales connected to Saint Canice. One such tale tells of how he loved retiring to a solitary existence in the forests to pursue his work on the Gospel commentaries. Here he was so still and focused on his work that the deer became easy in his presence; so at ease that he was able to balance his manuscripts in their antlers!

                           In honour thou dost rank with Ireland’s Enlightener,
                     O Lover of the Desert, great Teacher of the sacred scripture,
                     Father of Monks and Founder of Monasteries, O blessed Cainnech.
                     Labouring for Christ in both thy native land and farthest shores,
                    Thou art a tireless intercessor for the faithful.
             Pray for us who hymn thee, that despite our frailty we may be granted great mercy.