Celtic Saints

Our patron saint, St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, was one of many Celtic Saints in the early history of Christianity in the British Isles.

Explore St. Aidan’s Northumbria to read about the Celtic saints that lived during the time of St. Aidan, such as St. Ita:

St. Ita

Saint Ita was born in the fifth century in County Waterford. At the age of sixteen, she moved to Cluain Credhail, now known as Killeedy (from Cille Ide, meaning ‘Church of St. Ita’) in County Limerick, where she founded a school and convent. A holy well still marks the site of her church, called Tobar Bhaile Ui MhÈidÌn, My Little Ita’s Well, although the monastery was destroyed by Viking invaders in the ninth century.

Legend has it that Ita was led to Killeedy by three heavenly lights. The first was at the top of the Galtee mountains, the second on the Mullaghareirk mountains and the third at Cluain Creadhail, which is nowadays Killeedy. Her sister Fiona also went to Killeedy with her and became a member of the community.

The convent became known as a training ground for young boys, many of whom became famous churchmen. She received St. Brendan the Voyager when he was only a year old, and kept him until he was six. She also cared for her nephew Saint Mochaemhoch in his infancy.

Saint Ita once told Saint Brendan that the three things most displeasing to God are: A face that hates mankind, a will that clings to the love of evil, and placing one’s entire trust in riches (Compare Proverbs 6:16-19).

The three things most pleasing to God are: The firm belief of a pure heart in God, the simple religious life, and liberality with charity.

Brendan sailed away from Ireland in 510, travelled the oceans and founded monasteries for 40 years. He then returned to Ireland, visiting the holy island of Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, on the way home to Ireland. St. Ita died in 570 and St. Brendan died seven years later, in 577.

St. Aidan was the founder and first bishop of the Lindisfarne Island monastery. Born in Connacht, Ireland, Aidan was originally a monk at the monastery on the Island of Iona, founded by St Columba. King Oswald of Northumbria spent his youth on Iona, beginning in 616, and brought Aidan from Iona to Northumbria in 634, less than 60 years after the death of St. Brendan the Voyager.

Image and information: oca.org, Wikipedia.