The abbot and founder of Clonard, where, reputedly, the ‘twelve apostles of Ireland’ were trained, was Finnian. He was the author of the earliest surviving Irish penitential manual. He founded monasteries at Rossacurra, Drumfea and Kilmaglush, and then went to Wales to study the monasticism of David (see March 1st), Cadoc  (see September 25th) and Gildas. Returning to Ireland, he founded monasteries at Aghowle, Magna Sulcain and finally Clonard. Here he was known as ‘the teacher of the saints of Ireland’. He died of the yellow plague. He should not be confused with his contemporary, Finnian of Moville.

I need to be about Your business, my Lord, but sometimes I don’t know what You expect me to do. How could those saints of old found all those monasteries and influence so many people for You? Show me what You have put into my hands, the gifts I may use for You just where I am. Show me the people who need me to love them for Your sake – and help me not to compare myself with anyone else; in Jesus’ name . Amen.