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Saint Triduana – 8th October

St Triduana, an embroidered icon – in progress.

I hadn’t heard of Triduana until I was asked to write the libretto for an opera about her life. Here are the “pictures” telling her story in poetry that are being worked into a musical masterpiece by the amazing Hannah Hayes.


Where wells run deep
And time rolls long,
Heaven and Earth meet
With tales to be told…


Beneath blue skies, behind white rocks, once
A child was born; a baby girl
With eyes coloured as the sea
And hair of ebony.
Cherished she played and
Prayed her girlhood
Away. No
Tempt her.
A nun’s life
Found beckoning, with
Ailing ones to tend as
Tenderly as the altar.
With Regulus and her sisters
Triduana walked her holy path.

The Sea

Trailing her hand in the cool waters
Triduana prepared to leave
The waves in whose rise and fall
Prayers had been tossed with bones
Of the first-called saint,
Andrew, her charge
In the wild
Wet weeks
Sea. Where
Regulus dreamt of a land
Peopled with painted
Picts and Celtic clans whose
Lives, baptised in the Gospel
Were springing up like fresh flowing
Streams, eager to learn news of the sea.


In Forfar’s fertile fields, faithfully
Gathered sisters worked and prayed.
Growing neeps and tatties whilst
Saving souls by tending
To their sicknesses.
Tinctures, balm, Prayer
The hard
And lonely
Journeying life
Brings. Triduana’s
Daily round brought her paupers
And princes. Each in need of
Water’s healing grace. Baptism
The one true cure for all the world’s ills.


Enchanted by eyes deep as the sea
King Nechtan dedicated his
Lands to Peter and his heart
To Triduana. With
Marriage on his mind
Nechtan sent a
Page to ask
For her
She was
Not easily
Wooed. Knowing that
Nechtan loved her eyes,
Triduana gouged
Them out. Mounted on wooden
Pins, they were his. Blind, no royal
Beauty but a simple nun to be.


With blindness Triduana received
Gifts of healing. Having laid
Down her own eyes, she restored
Sight to others and led
Still more into the
New light of faith.
Took her
To bring
The Picts of
Good news and new birth.
On Papa Westray, by
A loch whose waters remind
Us of those beautiful eyes, she
Healed sight, leaving grace on the waters.


Great in years Triduana settled
Into quiet prayer at Restalrig.
All journeying done, she now
Relished inner visions
Of heaven, where mercy
And righteousness
Embrace. Drop
She breathed
Her last in
This place where grace
Sits in welled water.
Inspired in dreams the blind
Still seek Triduana’s touch
In these waters, blessed by baptism
And the daily prayer of the faithful.


Where wells run deep
And time rolls long,
Heaven and Earth meet
With tales to be told…


Today’s intercessions come in the form of  prayers for healing, which conclude the Triduana cycle:

God who
lightens for
us the darkness,
encircle our hearts,
bring stillness to our minds
as you are present with us now.
Let it be,     let it be,     Amen.
As the deer longs for running water
So, Lord, our souls long after you;
In    you   alone   will   we    find
Healing and deep, true peace.
We pray your blessing
On these waters

Here by
The story of
T r i d u a n a,
We come in weakness;
We come in hope; we come
to   receive   living   water  …
In God alone our souls will find
Rest and peace, in God our peace and joy.
As we delight in water’s cool
Forgiving, grace-filled caress,
God, take all that limits
Our vision and by
Your mercy grant
that we may

God, reach out
to   us   in   our
weakness, granting sight.
Without   easy   answers,
Without cheap grace, we may then
Bear witness to Your transforming
Energy, still working in Your world.

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