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April 17

Saint of the day:

Saint Donan

Patron Saint of Eigg, Scotland

The Story of Saint Donan

St. Donnan (died 618 A.D.)
Donnan is an Irish name that means “world mighty.”

Sometimes we know something about a person, but not too much. This is the case with St. Donnan.

St. Donnan was taught the Catholic faith by St. Columba in Iona, Scotland at a monastery which Columba had founded. Columba was an Irish missionary who was eager to spread the faith to the Scottish people, called the Picts, who had not heard about Jesus. Some of these people were glad to hear about Jesus and others rejected the faith.

St. Donnan was also from Ireland and he, too, saw the importance of helping the Picts learn about Jesus. With 52 other monks, he established a monastery on Eigg Island, which is off the western coast of Scotland. Here the monks lived, prayed, and worked together. From here they journeyed out to teach the Picts about Jesus. They lived a quiet, joyful life together. And together they died.

Three different accounts tell how these monks died. The common thread is that they were killed after prayer, and they were martyred for their faith.


One account states that Donnan, who was abbot of the monks, was offering Holy Mass when robbers arrived by sea. Seeing that these evil men would kill all who were present at the monastery, St. Donnan ask them to wait until Mass was over. This they did, beheading all of the monks once the Mass was completed.


Another account states that a pagan queen of the Picts had Donnan and all of his monks burnt because she was opposed to their teaching about Jesus.


A third account states that Donnan and his monks built their monastery on ground that a rich woman sometimes used to graze her sheep. Resenting this, she hired bandits to kill Donnan and the monks. The monks were at prayer, chanting their psalms, when the bandits arrived. The bandits did not want to kill the men when they were praying so they waited. When Donnan saw what would happen, he had the monks finish their prayers and then go into their kitchen where they were killed.


We know that Donnan was a holy man and that he died because of his faith. These are two important things about him. It does not matter if we don’t know other details. God does.







Eigg, Scotland

St. Donan Catholic Church

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Scottish Baked Scallops in Shell


  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 1 leek, sliced

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

  • 2 scallops per person

  • 100g puff pastry

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

  • seaweed or rock salt for serving

For the white wine sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 100g shallots, sliced

  • 250ml Noilly Prat vermouth

  • 250ml fish stock

  • 250ml whipping cream

  • salt and pepper

  • ½ tbsp grain mustard

  • 1 tbsp chopped dill


Scallops in the shell

To prepare the white wine sauce

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on top of the stove and the olive oil. Sweat the shallots gently for 3-4 minutes. Add the Noilly Prat and the fish stock and continue to cook until the mixture is reduced and has a syrupy consistency. Add the cream, bring back to the boil and reduce again slightly. Season with salt and pepper, then pass through a strainer or sieve. Add the grain mustard and chopped dill.


To prepare the scallops

Slip a sharp thin knife between the shells and cut through the large white muscle tab to release one side of the shell. Pry open the shell and pull everything out. Using a spoon, neatly scoop out the meat. Separate the white meat from the outer skirt and roe (the skirt and roe can be kept for making sauces and they freeze well). Rinse the scallops and keep them in the fridge on a paper towel. Rinse the shells and pat them dry.


To assemble the dish

Sweat the carrot and leek in the vegetable oil over a low heat. Season and cook until they are soft but not browned. Allow to cool. Take 4 washed shells and divide the leeks and carrots between them. Cut the scallops in half through the middle, season and place 4 pieces on each shell. Cover with 3 tablespoons of white wine sauce and top with the other shells.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into thin strips. Place a pastry strip around each scallop to seal the two shells together. Gently press the pastry in place to ensure that the seal is tight and there are no holes. Brush with egg yolk and cook in the hot oven for 10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.


To serve

Remove the scallop shells from the oven and run a sharp knife all the way around the outer crust. Serve on a bed of seaweed or some rock salt mixed with a little water to stop the shells rocking about and let your guests open the shells.

andy-hayler-kitchin-kitchin 5472 scallop
andy-hayler-kitchin-kitchin 5472 scallop
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