Cannera (DNB00)

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CANNERA or CAINNER, Saint (d. 530?), appears in the martyrology of Tamlacht and other ancient lists of Irish saints on 28 Jan. (O'Hanlon, Lives of Irish Saints, i. 464). According to Colgan she was born of noble parents in the district of Bentraighe (Bantry) in S. Munster. Her father's name was Cruithnechan (Martyr. Taml., quoted by Colgan), her mother's, Cumania. Refusing all offers of marriage, she lived many years in a solitary cell, till seized with a sudden desire to form one of the company gathered round St. Senan in his island home of Inis-cathey, in the mouth of the Shannon, off the coast of Clare. The saint, however, was obdurate to her prayers, and refused to admit a woman to his monastic settlement. However, it was in vain that he urged her to go back into the world. Repulsed in her first entreaties she at last persuaded St. Senan to promise that he would administer the sacrament to her as she lay dying, and grant her the privilege of burial in his island. Her tomb there was still pointed out when the ancient life of this saint was drawn up, and sailors were wont to visit it to offer up vows for a prosperous voyage (Vita S. Senani, ap. Colgan, c. 30). This story of St. Cannera and St. Senan forms the groundwork of one of Moore's Irish melodies. As St. Senan seems to have flourished in the sixth century, a similar date must be assigned to St. Cannera, who died about 530, according to Colgan. The last-mentioned authority tells us that she was venerated at Kill-chuilinn, in Carberry (Leinster), and at other churches in Ireland.

For the Scotch saint Kennera or Cainner (29 Oct.), whose name is preserved in the parish of Kirk-kinner, opposite Wigton, and elsewhere in Galloway, see ‘Bollandi Acta SS.’ 12 Oct., 904–5, and Forbes's ‘Calendar of Scottish Saints,’ 361. This saint is said to have been confused in later martyrologies with St. Cunnera, the Batavian martyr, one of the legendary followers of St. Ursula.

[Colgan's Acta SS. in Vita S. Canneræ, 174, &c., and Vita S. Senani, 8 March, 502–44; Colgan's Vita S. Senani is probably historical to some extent, as it is known that this saint's life was written by his contemporary, St. Colman MacLenin, and its substance has been worked up into Colgan's account; Bollandi Acta SS. (8 March), 760–79; O'Hanlon's Lives of Irish Saints, i. 464, &c.]

T. A. A.