samedi 11 février 2017


Gobnata of Ballyvourney V (AC)
(also known as Gobnet, Gobnait)

Born in County Clare, Ireland; died 5th or 6th century (?). In order to escape a family feud, Saint Gobnata fled to the Aran Islands. There she built a church, which is still named after her, but angels told her that she would find the place of her resurrection where nine white deer grazed. So she went to southern Ireland and founded the church of Kilgobnet (near Dungarvan), where she saw the nine deer.

Saint Abban of Kilabban, County Meath, Ireland, is said to have founded a convent in Ballyvourney, County Cork, on land donated by the O'Herlihy family, and to have placed Saint Gobnata over it as abbess. This is Ballyvourney, the place of which the angels spoke. A 13th-century wooden statue of Gobnata, in the hereditary keepership of the O'Herlihy family, was venerated there until 1843. A well still exists at Ballyvourney that is named after her. As with many Irish saints, there are stories of wondrous interactions with nature. Gobnata (meaning Honey Bee, which is the equivalent of the Hebrew "Deborah") used her bees to keep out unwelcome visitors.

Her grave in the churchyard at Ballyvourney is decorated with crutches and other evidence of cures obtained through Gobnata's intercession. Among the miracles attributed to her intercession were the staying of a pestilence by marking off the parish as sacred ground. Another tradition relates that she routed an enemy by loosing her bees upon them. Her beehive has remained a precious relic of the O'Herlihys.

The round stone associated with her is still preserved. Several leading families of Munster have a traditional devotion to this best-known and revered local saint. The devotion of the O'Sullivan Beare family may have been the reason that Pope Clement VIII honored Gobnata in 1601 by indulgencing a pilgrimage to her shrine and, in 1602, by authorizing a Proper Mass on her feast. About that time the chieftains of Ireland were making a final struggle for independence and the entire clan migrated to the North having dedicated their fortunes to Gobnata in a mass pilgrimage that included O'Sullivan Beare, his fighting men, and their women, children, and servants (Benedictines, D'Arcy, Farmer, Montague, Neeson, O'Hanlon, Sullivan).


In art, Saint Gobnata is represented as a beekeeper (Farmer). 

Santa Gobnat (Gobnait) Vergine

VI sec.
E' commemorata nei Martirologi irlandesi all'11 febbraio. Il Martirologio di Tallaght la chiama Gobnat di Ernaidhe nel Muskerry, ma le notulae ad Oengus parlano anche di Gobnat di "Bairnech in Moin Mor nel Sud dell'Irlanda".

Un tale sdoppiamento permane anche nei martirologi posteriori, tuttavia, è un fatto storicamente accertato che il culto di Gobnat si è localizzato a Ballyvourney, nella baronia di Muskerry, contea di Cork, dai tempi più remoti fino ai nostri giorni. I resti archeologici testimoniano qui dell'antichità del suo culto, ma non è facile assegnarle un floruit, anche approssimativo. Si può accettare la connessione di Gobnat con s. Abbano, così come è detto nella Vita, ma tutto fa pensare che gli Acta dell'Abbano associato a Gobnat siano stati confusi con quelli del più famoso santo omonimo del Leinster. 
Con qualche dubbio Gobnat può essere assegnata al VI secolo.

Autore: Patrick Corish