Another not-so-great but probably-quite-good:

Meanwhile, today — 22nd October — is the Holy Day of Saint Donatus of Fiesole (died c.876).

Brother Donatus (who, probably, therefore, was Donagh before the Latinists got at him) went off from Inis Cealtra, on Lough Derg, to Rome. He was accompanied by his mate and pupil, Andrew the Scot, who was St Brigid’s brother, no less.

On the way back, as one does, they took a side trip to Fiesole, and slipped into the back of the basilica. The locals were having a bad time, what with the newly-arrived Norse landlords imposing new demands and being generally unpleasant — and their late bishop had ended up being drowned.

Legend has it that, as Donagh and Andrew entered, the candles lit spontaneously and the bells began ringing. The locals recognised a message when one was that obvious, and promptly elected Donagh to a job he held the next half century. Nobody has quite worked out why Donagh, rather than Andrew, was the Chosen One. Equally, and obviously Donagh hadn’t sussed why there were no local candidates putting themselves forward: the fate of the previous bishop ‘s watery end might have been in a few minds.

Sadly the Duomo di Fiesole is not what Donagh would have known: it’s been rebuilt twice, and Donagh’s various bits seem to have been carted from place to place in the meanwhile. For reasons I cannot fathom, he stands on the Madonna’s left in Verrocchio’s Technicolor© piece at Pistoia.



Andrew the Scot (no relation to the Galilean fisherman) was also sanctified. He stayed as Donagh’s aide, survived Donagh, and had established a monastery and church at San Martino di Mensola. On his death-bed, he was consoled by sister Brigid, whisked from Ireland by angelic transportation.


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