This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25 -- Feast of Saint Finbarr of Cork

Blacksmith's Bastard Becomes Bishop

Finbarr means fair-haired?
Finbarr, the first bishop of Cork, was conceived in the prenuptial union of a blacksmith and a servant from the local king's castle.  The king, in a rage that such a comely wench would get knocked up by a blacksmith instead of by the king himself, threatened to kill them both -- public burning, no less.  Finbarr delivered an impromptu and in utero plea for their lives.  I saw a lot of things while judging high school speech and debate tournaments, but I never saw a girl's fetus deliver the speech for her.  Like the wrathful king, I would have been persuaded of just about anything the pre-natal Pericles had said. 

Not mourning in the morning with two scoops of holiness
Later, Finbarr crossed the Irish Sea on horseback so that he could evangelize Scotland.  I find it odd that there are no artistic representations of that miracle on the interwebs, but maybe someone out there will remedy that.  He returned to Ireland, where he preached some more before being sent to Rome by the ecclesiastical community. 

In Rome, the Pope was going to consecrate Finbarr as a bishop, but he stopped short, saying he had a divine vision that he was not worthy.  Finbar went back to Ireland, and there in the church he levitated, meeting a delegation of angels somewhere around the rafters so they could consecrate him. 

He evangelized, preached, set up a school and a hospital.  He seems to have taken that pastoral thing seriously, because the monastery at Cork was apparently a complete social service agency. 

When he died, the sun did not set for twelve days, keeping vigil with the rest of the mourners. 

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