Mar 3, 2010

Celtic Mothers

photo via creative commons by Geoff Johnson
Today is the feast day of St. Non, St. David's mother. Being a mother, I am naturally interested in these mothers. St. Non was a nun, and in the eyes of the Roman church nuns are virgins. So how did she give birth to St. David? Well, according to the church she was either seduced or raped. The picture above are the ruins of St. Non's chapel. The chapel supposedly sits on the site where the young Non gave birth to David. There is a stone with imprints that are supposedly the fingerprints she left there while giving birth. (Must have been a difficult labor!)

I have no reason to think that the story about the nun being raped isn't true. However, Celtic monks, nuns, abbots, and abbesses could be married in the ancient Celtic world. It was not unheard of.

Another mother of a saint that I'm keenly interested in is Eithne, mother of St. Columba. I've studied a little more about her and I'm struck by the parallels in this story and that of Hannah in the Bible, the mother of Samuel. Eithne also prayed for a child and promised to give that child to God for his service. Eithne sent Columba to a monastery when he was young, but the legends say that she visited him every year and when he was banished to Iona, she followed and lived on a nearby island.

It's hard to let your children grow up, but how hard must it have been to watch from afar as Columba grew up? Ah, the things that historical fiction novels are made up of!


  1. Hi, Cindy, my first visit to your blog. Would you be interested in exchanging following?

  2. Sure, Carole. Thanks for stopping by!