Enda was Irish and the son of Conall Deyre, lord of Ergall, a large territory in Ulster. According to legend, he was a military man, known for his great feats in battle. His sister, Saint Fanchea, abbess of Kill-Aine, convinced him to leave the army, settle down, and marry. Taking her advice, he went to his fiancée only to find out she had died while he was away in battle. Deciding to live out the remainder of his life as a monk, he resided for a while in the abbey of Rosnal under the abbot Mansenus Enda.
Later he traveled to Rome, and was eventually ordained a priest. When he returned to Ireland, he built churches at Drogheda. Since his brother-in-law was King Oengus of Munster, Enda requested from him the island of Arran where he built a great monastery. So many pious disciples were trained in the monastery that the island came to be called Arran of the Saints. Ten other foundations were built after the monastery of Killeaney. The main church on the island is named Kill-Enda, in memory of this holy man.
Along with Saint Finnian of Clonard, Enda is considered the founder of monasticism in Ireland. His feast day is March 21.
Saint Enda, rather than succumb to self-pity at the loss of your loved one, you offered yourself to God’s service. Pray for us, dear saint, that we will always put Him above all things and all people and follow Him wherever He leads us. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Benedict (543), “Father of Western Monasticism,” Twin of St. Scholastica, Patron against Poison