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The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Gaels Celebrate The Feast of St. Oran

photo courtesy of Michael Marchionna
Students learn the importance of celebrating the Feast of St. Oran.

Students at Iona University held a celebration to honor Saint Oran on Oct. 26. While he is a lesser-known saint and is not a patron saint of anything, St. Oran is especially important to the university’s history. Since most students were unaware of his story, the English department decided to hold an event to celebrate his legacy and feast day.  

The celebration started off with a small history lesson on Oran told in the form of a poem by English author Neil Gainman. According to the poem, St. Oran and Saint Columba both landed on the Isle of Iona. He helped St. Columba build the chapel. However, when the chapel was finally able to stand, St. Columba decided that a sacrifice was needed in order to keep the chapel up. So, Columba, with the help of a few people, decided to sacrifice St. Oran by burying him alive.  

St. Oran was dug up after a few days for St. Columba to say his goodbyes, but he was buried again at the Isle of Iona where he is to this day. Due to St. Oran being scarified, the chapel stayed standing and the isle blossomed. Eventually, in 1940, the Christian Brothers would fund a university in New Rochelle and name it after the isle. The rest, as they say, is history.  

After the little history lesson was finished, the students in attendance went to the English House where refreshments were served. Overall, the event had a fairly good turnout despite the lack of promotion. Those who attended the feast said that they had an enjoyable time. While there were some technical difficulties such as the candles not staying lit the entire time, everyone considered the event to be a great success.  

Professor Christina Carlon expressed the hope of having the event reach outside the English department and Honors program and the importance of holding the feast in the first place.  

“The feast of St. Oran fits in with the whole idea of Halloween and the Celtic idea of All Hallows’ Eve,” Carlon said. “St. Oran was also friends with St. Columba, so this feast plays into both Celtic tradition and Iona’s intuitional heritage.”  

After attending the event, students learned the importance of St. Oran’s feast day. Iona, both the isle and the school, have a lot of history that goes unnoticed. Celebrating St. Oran’s feast day was excellent opportunity to learn about the history of Iona’s namesake and the school’s history.   

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Michael Marchionna, Staff Writer

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