Saint Fursey, also called Fursa, Fursy, Forseus, and Furseus, was bornin Ireland in the region which is now known as Connacht, in 597. Born ofRoyal descent, his father was Fintan and his Grandfather was Finlog, thepagan king of a community at that time. His mother however was aChristian daughter of Aed-Finn, the king of Connacht.
At Birth, Saint Fursey was baptized by his Father’s uncle, St Brendanthe Traveller, who ruled a monastery. Throughout his childhood, he waseducated by the monks in the monastery after which he was sent to themonastery at Inisquin.
At Inisquin, Saint Fursey became a devout Christian and studied thescriptures. He lived in sanctity and spent his time praying andpreaching. Eventually, he built his monastery which would later go on tobe one of the most famous monastic centers.
Dedication and Devotion
Saint Fursey didn’t begin to experience vision until his earlytwenties. These visions would however last his whole life and play animportant role in helping the church understand the journey of a soulinto spirituality.
The first account of Saint Fursey’s vision happened as he arrived at hisfather’s home.
Saint Fursey had grown to be respected. As he waxed stronger inpopularity, many people traveled from far and wide to be admitted underhis rule. This disturbed him however as he aimed to teach God’s word andnot to be famous.
Saint Fursey wanted to have his relatives in his New Monastery so he setout with some monks for Munster, his father’s hometown. As he arrived,however, he suddenly fell ill.
Saint Fursey fell into a trance where he was borne up to heaven by someangels. He saw angels and heard them sing. He was instructed by theseangels to become a more devout worker for God.
He was returned to his body by these angels. This trance lasted 3 hoursaccording to legend.
The next vision came 3 days after the first. He was again taken toheaven but this time he encountered demons who tried to attack him.Saint Fursey described that the angels fought with the demons six timesfor his soul.
In this vision, he saw saints Melden and Beoan who taught him everythinghe needed to know about Monasticism. They warned him about the sins ofdisobedience and pride and the coming of future famine.
It was also during this second vision that he bore a physical mark ofhis trip into the spiritual realm.
As Saint Fursey was being returned to his body through the fire of all,the body of a tortured sinner hit and burnt him. This Mark stayed withhim forever.
On the third account of Saint Furley’s vision that occurred exactly 12months after the first, the angel injuncted him to serve 12 years inapostolic labor.
Saint Furley served faithfully for 12 years after which he retired to anisland and started a monastery at Rathmat. Saint Fursey preached theword of God and performed miracles all over the land.
Saint Furley was very instrumental in spreading Christianity to theuntouched parts of East Anglia and England.
When Saint Furley and his brothers Foillan and Ultan arrived at theKingdom of East Anglia, Sigeberht the Christian king provided them withland to build an abbey.
Saint Furley preached in East Anglia, gained souls, and the Monasterygrew in size.
After Sigeberht was killed in the war, Saint Furley was supported by theSuccessor, King Anna of East Anglia.
Hurley retired for one year to live with his brother where he practicedasceticism. However, his life of seclusion didn’t last long as peoplecontinued to visit him. Eventually, as war threatened East Anglia, heleft for France in 648 where he performed one of his most notablemiracles.
Saint Furley prayed over the dead body of the son of Duke Hayson who wasthen resurrected. Traveling on to Neustria, he continued to preach theword, perform miracles, cure sickness, and convert many.
He arrived at Peronne where reports of his good deeds already createdrespect for him in the people’s hearts. There he continued to pray,preach and perform miracles. The King offered Saint Fursey any part ofhis land in his kingdom to set up a monastery. He selected Latinacum.
There, Saint Fursey built a monastery and three chapels.
Death and Canonization
Saint Fursey died in the year 650 in Mézerolles, which for some time wasrenamed Forsheim in his honor. He was buried in a church in Peronne.
Saint Fursey’s body was moved three times. After he was buried inPeronne, he was moved to the petico of the church of St. Peter and thenfour years later moved back to Peronne.
Saint Fursey was canonized Pre-Congregation.
5 Interesting Facts About St. Fursey
- Did you know that Peronne adopted Saint Fursey as its patron saint?
- Did you know that Saint Fursey dedicated two of the three chapels in
Latinacum to Jesus Christ and St. Peter? The last chapel was later
dedicated to him after his death.
- Did you know that Saint Fursey’s body laid unburied for 30 days at
St. Peter? It was visited by pilgrims and noted to have been
incorrupt and emitting a sweet smell.
- Did you know that Saint Fursey’s body went without decaying for four
- Did you know Peronne became a favorite hot spot for pilgrims? It was
so popular that it was called “Peronne Scottorum” or “Peronne of
Prayer to St. Fursey
The arms of God be around my shoulders,The touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head,The design of Christ’s cross upon my forehead,The sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears,The fragrance of the Holy Spirit in my nostrils,The vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,The conversation of heaven’s company on my lips,The work of God’s church in my hands,The service of God and the neighbor in my feet,A home for God in my heart,and to God, the father of all, my entire being.Amen.