Monday, January 31, 2011

Ferns & the saint

I was mostly just looking to see who there might be around February 14th who was not Saint Valentine & what caught my eye was the man of today: Aedan of Ferns.  Ferns.  In January.

Okay, ferns it is.  Also, Aedan meets so many of my favorite saint requirements.  Very little documentation (or so I thought). Died of natural causes.  Hermit, although it turns out he founded 30 or so churches; I just love the project management hermits, don't you?

First it turns out not to be ferns but Ferns, a cathedral, diocese & all-round happening place in greater Dublin.  Naturally Aedan of Ferns is the patron saint of Ferns.  But before he was Aedan of Ferns he was Aedan, son of tribal chieftans.  Then he was Aedan, local guy with reputation for "sanctity".  I put that in quotes because that is the word the calendar uses:  sanctity.   Before sanctity was a metal band, it meant having the quality of being holy.  I am always curious how a person goes about exhibiting this quality to such a degree that he gets a reputation, but alas that is barely covered.  The only thing I could find was that he founded all those churches as he had to keep get away from his followers.  Which in my book does make him a little bit holy.  The first one is in his birthplace, the last one in Ferns, where he died on January 31, 632.

Mostly Aedan seems to have had the ordinary saint/chieftain's son life.  He was a student/hostage to a local king.  He got a reputation for being holy.  & there is a back-story that his family could not take him to be baptized as an infant because of rising water & he magically floated across the water.  It didn't say but I am guessing he floated back once it was over.  Or maybe that is how he came to be a hostage.

That's it except more detail on the career, church-founding stuff.  Aedan of Ferns gave us Ferns (& a slew of other churches) & more recently the name Aidan, which has been in the top 100 for almost 10 years now, although I think Sex In the City might have just as much to do with that as our man of the day.  Also Aidan Quinn probably didn't hurt.

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