Blessed Marianus Scotus, OSB Abbot (AC)
(also known as Muirdach MacRobartaigh or Muiredach MacGroarty)
Born in Donegal, Ireland; died 1088. The noble MacRobartaigh family is related to the O'Donnels, who were the hereditary keepers of the Cathach (Battle Book of Colmcille). In 1067, Muirdach set out with some companions on a pilgrimage to Rome. En route he was induced to become a Benedictine at Michelsberg Abbey (near Bamberg), Germany. The pilgrims stopped to rest at a hostel maintained by the local convent. Its abbess, Emma, learned that Muirdach was extraordinarily gifted at producing manuscripts. Using the seemingly irresistible powers of persuasion that all nuns seem to have, he took up her suggestion and migrated to Upper Minster at Regensburg to create the literary treasures of Saint Peter's Church in Regensburg. The most famous of these are the Pauline Epistles that now reside in the Imperial Library at Vienna, Austria. The quality and quantity of his artful productions, which appear inspired by the Holy Spirit gained for him a reputation for sanctity.
In 1078, he founded and became the abbot of the abbey of Saint Peter in Regensburg. Having successfully taken charge of the church and abbey attached to it for the task of copying manuscripts, other Irish monks were attracted to the mission. The abbey expanded to the point that, within 10 years, plans were made for another such monastery. In this way, Muirdach originated the congregation of 12 "Scottish," that is, Irish monasteries in southern Germany. (The reason for the term "Scottish" is that it was used from the time of the Romans for the Irish. Even 200 years after the establishment of the Scottish monarchy, the term was commonly used for things Irish. Although Scottish monks pressured Pope Leo XIII, who did permit them in 1515 to take possession of Saint James in Regensburg and the abbeys at Constanz and Erfurt. In Germany, the 12 are still known as the Schottenklöster. )
Saint James Abbey, like the ones to follow, was established with funds sent from Ireland. They retained the character and enjoyed privileges normally granted to Irish monasteries. In the 12th century, the emperor granted to the abbot of Saint James, considered the motherhouse, the privilege of using the half-eagle on his coat of arms, the right to the title of prince, and the status of independent statehood for the entire congregation of monasteries, which included the two at Regensburg, two in Vienna, and foundations at Würzburg, Nuremberg, Constanz, Memmingen, Erfurt, Kelheim, Oels, and Schottenburg (Silesia) (Benedictines, Montague).