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Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae

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The abbreviated title of a celebrated work on the Irish saints by the Franciscan, John Colgan (Louvain, 1645). The full title runs as follows:

Acta Sanctorum veteris et majoris Scotiae, seu Hiberniae, Sanctorum Insulae, partim ex variis per Europam MSS. codd. exscripta, partim ex antiquis monumentis et probatis authoribus eruta et congesta; omnia notis et appendicibus illustrata, per R.P.F. Joannem Colganum, in conventu F.F. Minor. Hibern. Scrictioris Observ., Lovanii, S. Theologiae Lectorem Jubilatum. Nunc primum de eisdem actis juxta ordinem mensium et dierum prodit tomus primus, qui de sacris Hiberniae antiquitatibus est tertius, Januarium, Februarium, et Martium complectens."

Colgan was an ardent Irishman, of the Mac Colgan sept, b. in the County Derry, 1592. He entered the Irish House of Franciscans, at Louvain, in 1612, and was ordained priest in 1618. Aided by Father Hugh Ward, O.F.M., Father Stephen White, S.J., and Brother Michael O'Cleary, O.F.M., Colgan sedulously collected enormous material for the Lives of the Irish Saints, and at length, after thirty years of sifting and digesting his materials, put to press his "Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae," a portion of the expense of which was defrayed by Archbishop O'Reilly of Armagh . The first volume, covering the lives of Irish saints for the months of January, February, and March, was intended to be the third volume of the "Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Ireland," but only one volume was printed at Louvain in 1645. To students of Irish ecclesiastical history Colgan's noble volume is simply invaluable.


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