St. Finbarr

Feastday: September 25th

St. Finbarr is Patron Saint of Cork City and of the Diocese of Cork. He is believed to have died in 623. Tradition holds that Finbarr was one of a community of monks who had a monastic settlement near the place where the river Lee rises. This is in Gougane Barra in Uibh Laoire parish. St. Finbarr’s Oratory was built in the early 1900s on the small island on a lake at Gougane on what has long been a place of pilgrimage of prayer. St. Finbarr is said to have journeyed to the mouth of the Lee where it meets the sea and established a monastic school around which grew what developed into the city of Cork. An annual pilgrimage day at Gougane is held on the last Sunday of September.

St. Fachtna

Feastday: August 14th

St. Fachtna is Patron Saint of the Diocese of Ross. He established a monastery and school in the area now known as Rosscarbery towards the end of the sixth century. The School of Ross became a celebrated seat of learning and gained an international reputation for study of sacred scripture. St. Fachtna later became first Bishop of Ross. The school survived as a centre of learning until the ninth century when it was besieged and destroyed by the Danes.

Nano Nagle

nagleNano Nagle, pioneer of Catholic education in Ireland, was born at Ballygriffin, Co Cork in 1718. Because of the Penal Laws, she was educated first at the local hedge school, and later in France. Upon completing her education, Nano resided in Paris and enjoyed a leisurely social life with her sister, Ann, among a privileged set of Irish emigres.

Upon her return to Ireland, Nano was appalled by the oppression and ignorance of poor Catholics. She decided to enter the religious life in France to pray for her people. But God had other plans for her. Nano came back to Cork and started what was to be her life’s work. In 1752, she risked imprisonment and death by opening her first school in a mud cabin in Cove Lane in Cork City. Within 20 years she had seven such schools in Cork City. In 1771, she introduced the Ursuline Sisters into Cork, thinking that this would ensure the continuation of her apostolate. But the rule of enclosure observed by the Ursuline Order made this impossible.

On Christmas Eve in 1775, Nano founded what was to become the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation by inviting three other women to join her apostolate to the poor. Her decision was timely for Nano Nagle died on April 26, 1784.

Thaddeus McCarthy

Feastday: October 25th

Thaddeus McCarthy was appointed Bishop of Ross and later appointed Bishop of Cork and Cloyne but never ministered as bishop in either see. He died in Ivrea, Italy, on October 25th, 1492, where he is still venerated. He was beatified in Rome in 1896. Following his beatification, a relic of his remains was sent by the people of Ivrea to the Cathedral in Cork. The reliquary was remounted on a piece of carved Cork limestone by Ken Thompson as part of the 1996 refurbishment of the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne.