Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Feast of St Laserian


St. Laserian  was born around the year 566, the son of Cairel and Blitha,

of the Ulaid, Irish Celts. Laserian was sent to Scotland to be educated by the Abbot St Murin. 

As a young man he lived as a hermit on the Holy Island off  the Isle of Arran. This island became known as Molaise's island - Molaise is a 'pet name' for Lasieran. He worked many miracles there including bringing water to flow for the mill and there is a Holy Well still attributed with healing qualities. The water was also used to seal an oath and would cause an illness on anyone who broke it. 
This island is now owned by a Buddhist Community and used as a retreat centre and religious community - not to be confused with the Holy Island of Lindisfarne.
From Holy Island,  Laserian travelled to Rome. He was ordained by  Pope Gregory the Great. He then returned to Ireland.

God led him to found a monastic community at Old Leighlin in South Leinster. It's said that the local landowner promised him the amount of ground that his cloak would cover - when Laserian took off his cloak it spread to cover enough land for the building of his monastery.  St. Patrick too, is associated with Leighlin. There is a St. Patrick's Well at Ballyknockan near Leighlin. The monastery at Leighlin continued to grow and attracted the company of other holy men such as  St. Finbar of Cork and also St. Molua, who had a monastic settlement at Clonfertmulloe in County Laois.

A Synod was assembled in March 630, in the White Fields. St Laserian supported the Roman working of when to celebrate Easter against St Munnu.  St Laserian made another journey to Rome where Pope Honorius ordained him Bishop and legate in Ireland. After he returned, the time of observing Easter was reformed in the south of Ireland.

According to tradition, he is the Laisrén who is depicted in the Old Irish prose narrative The Vision of Laisrén, one of the earliest vernacular pieces of vision literature in Christian tradition. The legend tells of him leaving the monastery of Clúain to 'purify' the church of Clúain Cháin in Connaught. After a three nights' fast, his soul is taken up by two angels, who escort him to Hell to show him the horrors that await sinners. The angels explain to one devil that their guest is granted the vision in order that "he will give warning before us to his friends."

St. Laserian is said to have died between the years 638 and 641. A story concerning his death refers to his meeting with St. Sillán. The tradition tells that a person who would see Sillán's eyebrow would die immediately. St. Laserian on meeting with St. Sillán tried to pluck out the hair but he was struck down. This could be a variant of the "Evil Eye" tale in folklore. There is a variety of opinion as to where the Saint's resting place lies - some say he was buried under his church at Leighlin or under the High cross in Leighlin and others say that it may have been at Lorum. 


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