Lives of the Saints
Our Models and Protectors

Spiritual Bouquet:

"May the peace of Christ, unto which you were called in one body, reign in your hearts."

St. Paul, Col. 3:15

November 9

Saint Benen
Saint Benen

Saint Benen
(or Benignus)
Bishop and Confessor
(† 467)

Saint Patrick may not have been Irish, but Benen, his closest disciple and future successor, certainly was. He might, in fact, be described as an Irish tenor, for he was a singing saint. Saint Patrick had met him in County Meath, where he had stayed at the home of Benen’s father, Sesenen, an Irish chieftain. Patrick converted the entire family, and the young boy took leave of his family and went off with the apostle of Ireland.

He traveled with Saint Patrick as his dearest disciple and, in 455, became his coadjutor in the see of Armagh. He was the first to evangelize Clare and Kerry, and it is said that for twenty years he had charge of a church in Drumlease.

He was given the name Benen (or Benignus, meaning friendly, in the Latin form) because of his mild, cheerful disposition, and he was famous for his sweet voice. It was God’s gift, and he used it for God’s cause, attracting thousands to an interest in Christianity by his singing. He is called "Patrick’s psalm-singer.”

He is said to have assisted in compiling the great Irish code of laws, or Senchus Mor, and he contributed material for the Psalter of Cashel and the Book of Rights. He was also associated with Patrick and his companions in decrees concerning the government of the Church in Ireland, and upon Saint Patrick’s death succeeded him as bishop of Armagh. He worked unceasingly until about the last year of his life. Some say he then resigned his office and retired from the world to live as a hermit until his death in 467.

The Lives of the Saints for every day of the year, Vol. III, (The Catholic Press: Chicago, Illinois, 1965).

Alphabetical list of Saints