Saints of the Day – Samthann of Clonbroney

Saint Samthann of ClonbroneyArticle

Died 739. The cultus of Samthann, the Irish nun who founded Clonbroney Abbey in County Longford, was introduced to the Continent and promoted by Saint Virgilius of Salzburg. Her name is included in both the litany and the canon of the Stowe missal.

An unreliable vita written later tells us that Samthann was raised by Cridan, king of Cairbre Cabhra. He arranged for her marriage but a miracle prevented it. Thereafter she became a nun under Saint Cognat at Ernaide (Donegal), from where she moved to Clonbroney.

Her vita provides us with some of her wise sayings. When a monk asked in what attitude should prayer be made, she responded in every position: standing, sitting, or lying. Another said he was going to stop studying in order to pray more. She advised that he would never be able to fix his mind and pray if he neglected study. When yet another said he was making a pilgrimage, she remarked that the kingdom of heaven can be reached without crossing the sea and that God is near to all who call upon Him.

Samthann would not accept large estates for her convent. She preferred that her sisters live in poverty as demonstrated by the fact that the community had but six cows for its herd. Montague gives her feast as December 19 (Farmer, Montague).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 August 2020. Web. 6 December 2020. <>