Friday, 22 March 2013

Saint Deghitche, March 22

On March 22 we have the commemoration of yet another of our enigmatic holy women, a saint Deghitche. Her feast is recorded on all of the Irish calendars from the 8th/9th-century Martyrology of Tallaght, through to the 12th-century Martyrology of Gorman and finally to the 17th-century Matyrology of Donegal. Despite her feast being so well-attested, however, no other details have survived. Canon O'Hanlon tells us that the 17th-century hagiologist, Father John Colgan, suggested that she might be the same person as a saint mentioned in the Life of Saint Farannan:

St. Deghitche, or Deghitghi, Virgin.

The Martyrology of Tallagh records a Saint Deghitghi, but without further designation at this day. We find mentioned, also in the Martyrology of Donegal, a saint named Deghitche, as having a festival celebrated, at the same date. The Bollandists – alluding furthermore to Marianus O’Gorman – have Saint Degithea, a Virgin, at the 22nd March. Colgan offers a passing conjecture, that the present holy woman may be identical, with a St. Geghia, of Inis Geghe, who is mentioned, in the Irish Life of St. Farannan.

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