Abbess (d. 739)
+ The life of Saint Samthann has come down to us in three ancient manuscripts. According to these traditions, she is said to have fled an arranged marriage to become a nun.
+ She became a spiritual student of Saint Cognat in Ernaide and later founded a new monastery for women at Clonbroney in County Longford.
+ Samthann and her nuns refused large donations and bequests because of concerns that they would lose the simplicity of their way of life.
+ Saint Samthann died in 739 and was revered as a saint immediately after her death. Devotion to this holy woman was promoted across Europe, including by Saint Virgil, bishop of Salzburg, who may well have known the saint and brought some of her relics with him in mission to evangelize the region of modern-day Austria.
For prayer and reflection
O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.
Today is the day on which the Church formerly celebrated a special feast in honor of “the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.” Originally an alternate feast of the Annunciation (which typically falls during Lent), this feast came to honor Our Lady’s hope-filled expectation of the birth of Jesus in the days preceding Christmas.
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who are weighed down from of old
by slavery beneath the yoke of sin,
may be set free by the newness
of the long-awaited Nativity
of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal—Collect for December 18)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.