St Samthan

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Irish nun. This 8th century saint was a foster child of King Cridan of Cairbr Gabrah. He had planned to arrange a marriage for her, but she decided to become a nun instead. After training under St Cognat at Arnaide in Donegal she founded a convent at Clonbrony in Co Longford.

Samthan is named in the litany and the canon of the ancient Stowe Missal.

When a monk asked her what was the best attitude for prayer, she answered: "every position - sitting, standing or lying down."

When another said he wanted to give up study to pray more, she said he would never be able to fix his mind on prayer if he did not study. When a monk said he was going on pilgrimage, she told him: "the kingdom of God can be reached without crossing the sea and God is near all who call on Him."

St Samthan refused large estates for her convent and lived in poverty with her community and six cows.

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