Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Aengus, Bishop and Confessor

Article

This saint is distinguished by the surname of Kele De, that is Worshipper of God; which began in his time to be the denomination of monks in the Scottish language, commonly called Culdees. He was born in Ireland in the eighth century, of the race of the Dalaradians, kings of Ulster. In his youth renouncing all earthly pretentions, he chose Christ for his inheritance, embracing a religious state in the famous monastery of Cluain-Edneach in East Meath. Here he became so great a proficient both in learning and sanctity, that no one in his time could be found in Ireland that equalled him in reputation for every kind of virtue, and for sacred knowledge. To shun the esteem of the world, he disguised himself, and going to the monastery of Tamlâcht, three miles from Dublin, lived there seven years unknown, in the quality of a lay-brother, performing all the drudgery of the house, appearing fit for nothing but the vilest employs, whilst his interior by perfect love and contemplation was absorbed in God. Being at length discovered, he some time after returned to Cluain-Edneach, where the continual austerity of his life, and his constant application to God in prayer, may be more easily admired than imitated. He was chosen abbot, and at length raised to the episcopal dignity: for it was usual then in Ireland for eminent abbots in the chief monasteries to be bishops. He was remarkable for his devotions to the saints, and he left both a longer and a shorter Irish Martyrology, and five other books concerning the saints of his country, contained in what the Irish call Saltair-na-Rann. He died about the year 824, not at Clauain-Edneach, but at Desert Ænguis, which became also a famous monastery, and took its name from him.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint AEngus, Bishop and Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 10 March 2013. Web. 25 April 2014. <>