Calendar of Scottish Saints – Saint Donnan and Companions, Martyrs, A.D. 617


Like Saint Columba, whose countryman he was, Saint Donnan left his native Ireland and passed over to Scotland, where he established a monastery on the Island of Eigg, one of the Inner Hebrides. While celebrating the Holy Mysteries on Easter morning the abbot and his monks were surprised by a horde of pirates, possibly Danes, who had been instigated by a malicious woman to put them to death. At the prayer of the monks they granted them a respite till Mass was finished, and then put them all to the sword. The martyrs numbered fifty-three.

Many churches, especially in the west, bore Saint Donnan’s dedication. Among them were Kildonan of Eigg, Arran, South Uist, Kintyre, and Lochbroom. On the island of his martyrdom is the saint’s well. Saint Donnan’s abbatial staff existed up to the Reformation; it was treasured at Auchterless, Aberdeenshire, where “Donan Fair” was held as late as 1851. Another fair used to be held at Kildonan, in Sutherlandshire. The feast of these martyrs was restored to the Scottish Calendar by Leo XIII in 1898.

MLA Citation

  • Father Michael Barrett, OSB. “Saint Donnan and Companions, Martyrs, A.D. 617”. The Calendar of Scottish Saints, 1919. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 March 2014. Web. 22 January 2019. <>