Happy Saint Valentine’s Day.
Many of us know of Saint Valentine, patron saint of lovers and the protector of Beekeepers. As a female beekeeper and someone who works in the nursing profession, I have always been fascinated by Gobnait, Patron Saint of Bees and Beekeepers. Gobnait was born in County Clare, Ireland, sometime in the 5th or 6th century. Gobnait is Irish for Abigail (“Brings Joy”). As the patron saint of beekeepers, her name also has been anglicized as Deborah, meaning “Honey Bee”. Gobnait’s connection to honeybees is strong because of her care of the sick and her use of honey in the treatment of illness and the healing of wounds. One of Gobnait’s miracles has her rousing her bees from their hives in order to chase of evil-doers, including a band of cattle thieves and a wealthy man who wanted to build a castle on Gobnait’s farm. Whilst we celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day, let’s not forget about Saint Gobnait whose life is celebrated on February the 11th on “Pattern Day” in the parishes of Dún Chaoin and in Baile Bhúirne, and is seen as both a holiday and holy day.
Emma Majcen, Image.