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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 13 -- Feast of Saint Modomnoc O'Neill

Blessed Be... the Bees
Modhomhnoc was of the Ui Neill clan.  He crossed the sea to study with Saint David in Wales.  There, in the monastery, he worked as a beekeeper, a job for which he was exceptionally well suited.  He and the bees got on very well, which is nice because grumpy bees make sore monks.  The bees flourished under his care and he in turn achieved sufficient mastery of the monastic lore that he was able to return to Ireland to propagate the Faith and Rule. 

Pre-Christian Ireland must have been zoologically remarkable.  In addition to being overrun with serpents (from snakes to dragons), it had no bees.  Pollinating everything that grew from the ground must have been a chore, which is why it's pretty lucky that Saint Modhomhnoc came along a century or so after Saint Patrick. 

The tawny miner bee
Modhomhnoc said farewell to Saint David, to his brothers, and then to the bees.  They swarmed around him before he left.  Then they must have caucused and decided to go with him because they showed up at the shore as he stepped into his boat.  He probably urged them to return, but instead they settled into the corner of the boat and crossed the sea to Ireland with him. 

The Church in Bremore, County Dublin, is known as the Church of the Beekeeper.  It is there that Saint Modhomhnoc first set up hives for the swarm that followed him to Ireland. 
Up from the mine
The Irish National Biodiversity Data Centre estimates that bees do €85m worth of work in the Irish economy.  There are 101 native species of bees in Ireland, including the recently rediscovered tawny miner bee, previously thought extinct there.  If you are putting a drop of honey in your tea or just enjoying a pint of cider,  raise the cup just once to dear old Modhomhnoc O'Neill. 

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