Saint Ronan

There were at least twelve saints called Rónán, a common name in early Ireland borne also by several kings

aints

There are twelve Irish saints bearing the name of Ronan commemorated in the "Martyrology of Donegal". [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/St._Ronan] These include

*St. Ronan of Ulster, brother of St. Carnech, and grandson of Loarn, d. 11 January, 535.
*St. Ronan, son of Berach, a disciple of St. Fechin of Fore. He became first Abbot of Drumshallon, and d. 18 November, 665.
*St. Ronan Fionn is honoured as patron of Lan Ronan (Kelminiog) in Iveagh. His feast is celebrated on 22 May, both in Ireland and Scotland.
*St. Ronan of Iona is explicitly referred to by Bede in the controversy with his countryman St. Finan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, 660. This controversy, on the calculation of the date of Easter, was ended at the Synod of Whitby, in 664, when Ronan's views were upheld. This is the saint referred to in the title of Sir Walter Scott's book, "St. Ronan's Well". Scott's St. Ronan was a Celtic monk, Bishop of Kilmaronen, who advocated the use of the Roman rather than Celtic manner. This St. Ronan is also the patron saint of the Scottish town of Innerleithen.
*St. Ronan of Lismore was a successor of St. Carthage, and several Munster churches were built in his honour. His feast is celebrated on 9 February 763.
*Another saint of this name is best known by the ruined church of Kilronan, Co. Roscommon, where Turlogh O'Carolan and Bishop O'Rourke are buried.
*A Celtic saint [cite book|title=The Oxford Dictionary of Saints|author=D. H. Farmer|year=1978|publisher=Oxford University Press|] of Irish origin. Rónán the Silent [cite book|title=Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology|author=J.Mac Killop|year=1998, 2004|publisher=Oxford University Press|] (Éire), sometimes confused with St. Rumon of 6th century Britain because stories portray him as keeping a tame pet wolf in anticipation of St. Francis of Assisi. * He preached throughout his part of the Celtic Christian world, particularly in Devon/Cornwall and Brittany. He is venerated particularly in the village of Locronan in Brittany, which is named after him, and which has his relics. **Although not on the official calendar of Saints, Rónán (Ronan) has been venerated on June 1.

The Legends of Locronan

There are many confusions between the different saints bearing the name Ronan or Rumon, but the eponym of the village of Locronan in Brittany does have an associated group of legends that explain the location of his shrine.

This Ronan is pictured as a wandering missionary of Irish extraction, who became settled in the Forest of Nevez, overlooking the Bay of Douarnenez. Paradoxically, he is accorded a wife, called Ceban, and at least one child.

Ceban so became worried or jealous over Ronan's preaching among the heathen Bretons that she plotted to have him arrested. She hid their daughter in a chest and fled to Quimper (Kemper), where she accused Ronan of being a werewolf at the court of the count of Cornouaille. She claimed not only that he savaged sheep, but that he had killed their daughter. Ronan was brought before the court, with the hunting dogs sitting by. Trained to hunt wolves, they would have attacked Ronan immediately if he were a werewolf. Thus the prince was convinced of Ronan's innocence. The daughter was soon found safe and well.

However, Ceban's plots against Ronan continued, so he left home and continued his missionary journeys and became celebrated as a healer of the sick. He finally settled at Hillion, where he died.

There were great disputes over the body of the saint. The various rulers of Brittany all wanted to provide a last resting place. So the issue was decided by placing the body on a cart, dragged by three previously unyoked oxen, and leaving it for them to drag wherever they would. However, the body could be lifted only by the prince of Cornouaille; and, when the oxen halted, it was in Cornouaille, close to Ronan's old home in the forest of Nevez. There the body was interred and the little settlement of Locronan grew up around the burial place.

Gallery


polychrome pulpit at Locronan parish church in Brittany. One legend tells us that Ronan's wife denounced him as a werewolf to the local prince, who tested this claim by exposing him to hunting hounds. Being trained to hunt wolves, they would have sensed the presence of a werewolf, but were left unmoved.
Locronan pulpit. The discovery of his daughter, hidden in a chest is shown in the first picture. The dragging of his body to Locronan is in the third picture.
Reliquary of St Ronan, Locronan, Brittany. Legend has it that his remains were taken to Cornwall during the Viking raids, and there worked miracles until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. However it seems that some relics were returned or reappeared in Brittany around the 13th century.
banner of the parish church of Locronan, Brittany. The banner will be used particularly on the saint's feast day, 1 June, and on the Troménies or pardons held at Locronan in July.

References

External links

* [http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/rumonby.html A site dedicated to early British kingdoms.]


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