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St Ninian: HIs Life and Ministry


St. Ninian is the Patron of the Diocese of Antigonish.
His Feast Day is Sept. 16.

What else do we know of this early saint?

The name of St. Ninian has been a part of our faith community since 1812, when the first Catholic chapel in Antigonish was renamed in his honour. Today St. Ninian is the patron saint of our cathedral and our diocese.

Whithorn is the oldest Christian community in Scotland and the seat of St. Ninian’s work in the 4th and 5th century until his death in 432. Following his ordination and consecration as a Bishop in Rome, Ninian travelled to Gaul (now France) and was inspired by the work of St. Martin de Tours. Settling in Whithorn, a coastal village on the Irish Sea, about 150 km south of Glasgow, Ninian constructed Casa Candida – ‘White Church’ so named for its white-washed stone – and began a ministry of evangelization, preaching and healing that inspired people to make a pilgrimage to the monastic community that Ninian had begun. Today, Whithorn remains a place of pilgrimage as well as a site for historical research and archeological exploration. Its museum houses more than 60 early Christian crosses including the Latinus Stone, dating to 450 AD.

Archbishop Brian Dunn, former bishop of our diocese, visited Whithorn in 2017. “You get a sense of this as a place of faith,” he said at the time, “and a sense of how powerful the faith of this saint was, inspiring our ancestors in northern Nova Scotia to name a church in his honour.”

To learn more of Whithorn and St. Ninian:


Communications Officer, Diocese of Antigonish