St. Gobnata at Ballyvourney


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Commemorated on February 11

St. Gobnata was born in County Clare, Ireland at the end of the fifth, or beginning of the sixth, century. An angel appeared to her one day and told her to leave and to keep walking until she found nine white deer. Eventually, she saw three white deer at Clondrohid, County Cork, and decided to follow them. Then, at Ballymakeera, she saw six white deer. Finally, at Ballyvourney, she came upon nine white deer grazing in a wood. There, she was given land for a women’s monastery by her spiritual Father, St. Abban of Kilabban, and he installed her as abbess. Excavations in 1951 proved that indeed there had been an early Christian settlement on the site.

St. Gobnata was renowned for her gift of healing, and there is a story of how she kept the plague from Ballyvourney. She is also famous for her skill as a bee-keeper.

One day, St. Gobnata was watching from a hill overlooking a valley as an invading chieftain and his army came through, destroying crops and driving off cattle. She sent the bees to attack them, and the army was thrown into such confusion that they left without their plunder.

The holy virgin St Gobnata fell asleep in the Lord on February 11. The exact year of her death is not known, but it probably occurred in the sixth century. Although she is regarded as the patron saint of Ballyvourney, she is venerated throughout southern Ireland. There are churches dedicated to her in Waterford and Kerry, and she is also revered in Scotland.

Troparion (Tone 3) –

As a spiritual child of the God inspired Abban

Thou didst worthily guide many into monastic virtue, most holy Gobnata

Wherefore we entreat thee to intercede for us

that we may be guided aright

and be found worthy of the great mercy of Christ our God.

Kontakion (Tone 5) –

Praise and honor are thy due

O physician of bodies and souls,

Most Pious Gobnata.

As thou, being blessed with the gift of healing,

Didst bring to many the wholeness and peace of Christ,

Pray now for us that our tormented souls

May come to know the joy of godly healing.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)