St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day

December 12

Finnian (Finian, Finden) of Clonard B
Born c. 470; died c. 549-52. Irish monk who followed in the path of Saint Patrick and began the initiator of a strict form of Irish monasticism. Finnian had close relations with the British Church. The contemporary collection of regulations for penitents, ascribed to Vinnianus, was probably not the work of this Finnian but perhaps by Finnian of Moville. Unreliable legend has him born at Myshall, County Carlow, Ireland, and spending several years in Wales at monasteries under Saint Cadoc and Saint Gildas. He became a monk in Wales, returned to Ireland, and founded several monasteries, most notably Clonard in Meath, which was the greatest school of the period, renowned chiefly for its biblical studies (Finnian was a great Biblical scholar). He died at Clonard of the yellow plague, which swept Ireland. Though called a bishop in Ireland, it is doubtful if he was ever consecrated. He is often called the "Teacher of Irish Saints" and at one time had as pupils at Clonard the so- called Twelve Apostles of Ireland, including Saint Columba of Iona, Saint Ciaran of Clommacnois, and Saint Brendan the Voyager (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia).

About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.