Posted by: anna | September 17, 2010

St Monessa

Today (4 September) we commemorate St. Monessa, disciple of St. Patrick (456). From Miss Dunbar:
St. Monessa, MUNESSA, MUNERIA, or NESSA, Sep. 4. 5th or 7th century. Irish.
There was once a king who had a beautiful and amiable daughter, for whom he wished to arrange a very good marriage, but she would not accept any of the princes who sought her alliance. The king and queen were very angry. They argued with her, scolded her, whipped her, and resorted to magic arts to change her inclination. But all to no purpose. She kept always asking her mother and nurse whether they had found the maker of the wheel by whose light the world was illumined, and when they told her that the sun was made by Him Whose seat was in heaven, she begged them to marry her to Him, as she would have no husband but Him, Who gave such a beautiful light to the heavens. At last her parents hearing of the wisdom of St. Patrick, took her to him and consulted him how they should bring her to obedience. He asked her if she believed in God with her whole heart. She answered, ‘I believe,’ Whereupon he baptized her, and she then fell down and died. She was buried where she died, and St. Patrick foretold that on that spot there would some day be a cell where many virgins would be gathered together to serve God. And so it was, for not many years after that time, a church and convent were built on the spot and the memory of St. Monessa was held in honour amongst them.
Constantine Suysken says she probably lived after 654. In that case she was not contemporary with St. Patrick who lived much earlier. AA.SS. from Probus Life of St. Patrick.
There have been a couple of saints in the calendar lately whose Christian life and witness consisted almost entirely (in earthly terms) of their struggle to get as far as being baptised, and then (and it’s so tempting to go ‘poof!’ as you might in a fairy tale) they die – often on the spot. End of story. But obviously it is not the end of the story, because we still have it. And it’s a good story, one of perseverance against great odds and ‘keeping your eyes on the prize.’ They have fought the good fight and run the race, and baptism is the fulfilment of all their striving. Hard to relate to for those of us who were baptised as tiny children, at the beginning of our lives – so easy to take for granted, as normal, a state that others are willing to give up their lives for. Maybe it makes us take another look!
Holy Saint Monessa, pray to God for us.

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