Benignus of Kilbannon was the son of Sesenen, an Irish chieftain in the part of Ireland which is now County Meath. He was baptized by St. Patrick, and became his favorite disciple and coadjutor in the See of Armagh.
His gentle and lovable disposition suggested the name Benen, which has been Latinized as Benignus. He followed his master in all of his travels and assisted him in his missionary labors, giving most valuable assistance in the formation of choral services. Because of his musical attributes, he was known as “Patrick’s psalm-singer,” and he drew thousands of souls to Christ through his sweet voice.
St. Benignus is said not only to have assisted in compiling the great Irish code of Laws and the Senchus Mor, but also to have contributed materials for the “Psalter of Cashel,” and the “Book of Rights.” He was present at the famous synod which passed the canon recognizing “the See Of the Apostle Peter” as the final court of appeal in difficult cases, which canon is to be found in the Book of Armagh.
St. Benignus resigned his coadjutorship in 467 and died at the close of the same year. His feast is celebrated on the 9th of November.
Most authorities have identified St. Patrick’s psalm-singer with the St. Benignus who founded Kilbannon, near Tuam, though there is another Irish St. Benignus who comes from Armagh. Though the two saints are often confused, they were contemporaries.
Special Thanks to the Catholic News Agency for supplying the information on this saint.