Finnian was born toward the end of the fifth century in County Carlow. When he was introduced to the Christian Church, it awoke a hunger in him for learning. In response to that hunger for knowledge, he traveled to Britain and then to France to study.
In Tours, he spent time at St. Martin’s Monastery. He sacrificed physical comfort to learn more about religion. He then went to Wales to perfect himself and studied at the monastery of Cadog the Wise. After 30 years, he returned to Ireland and established a church near the river Barrow. He taught at St. Brigid’s monastery.
Over the years, he had no fewer than 3000 pupils who would learn about Sacred Scriptures and biblical scholarship. He was known for sleeping on a cold floor and wearing an iron girdle for penance.
St. Finnian of Clonard is known as “The Master of the Saints of Ireland” and his day of feast is December 12.