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Senan, St.


Founder of a monastery on Scattery Island (Inis Cathaigh) in the Shannon estuary, Ireland, with a paruchia of island churches; b. near Kilrush, Co. Clare, Ireland; d. ca. 544 (?). He is not mentioned in the Irish annals, but in his Lives he is made contemporary with people who lived in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th centuries. It seems, however, that his biographers had principally the 6th century in mind. He appears in the legends of SS. patrick and brigid, but only in the legends' more developed (later) forms. These place him at the beginning or end of the 6th century. The Life of Ciaran of Clonmacnois mentions him in the mid-6th century. However, neither this nor the mythological associations of his name and legend disprove his historicity. Irish genealogies distinguish several saints of this name.

Feast: March 8.

Bibliography: s. baring-gould and j. fisher, The Lives of the British Saints, 4 v. (London 190713) v.4. Bethu Phátraic, ed. with tr. k. mulchrone (Dublin 1939) 124, places S. 120 years after Patrick. Vita anonyma of Brigid (see bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, 2 v. (brussels 18981901; suppl. 1911) 1:145556, 1460), makes him her contemporary. "Vita sancti Ciarani de Cluain," in c. plummer, comp., Vitae sanctorum Hiberniae, 2 v. (Oxford 1910) 1:200216, a contemporary of Ciaran. j. f. kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland: v. 1, Ecclesiastical (New York 1929) 364366. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 1:522523. p. grosjean, "Trois pièces sur S. Senán," Analecta Bollandiana 66 (Brussels 1948) 199230; 47 (1929) 164165; 79 (1961) 230231, on supposed cult in Cornwall and Brittany. d. f. gleeson and a. gwynn, A History of the Diocese of Killaloe, v.1 (Dublin 1962) 1523.

[c. mcgrath]

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