Characters & Figures


In order of mention

Rosario Ambrosi

Vatican chauffeur

Kevin Schaeffer

48-year-old Boston College Jesuit on sabbatical at Trinity College, Dublin

Marco Giordano

54-year-old priest at Vatican Secret Archive; Kevin's closest friend

Stephanie Lambert

Boston College junior; Kevin's summer research intern

Aideen Callaghan

Michael's 70-year-old grandmother and guardian

Michael Callaghan

10-year-old boy with family cancer syndrome dying of recurrent leukemia

Maire O'Donnell [Maw Maw]

Aideen's great-grandmother (1850-1949); last to be cured by relic

Caitlin Callaghan [Caitie]

Michael's mother (1968-2003); died of brain tumor

Eamon Dunbar

Keeper of the Manuscripts, Trinity College Old Library, Dublin

Lenore Thomson

Michael's pediatric oncologist (Scottish)

Petra Sviatlana

Dr. Thomson's nurse specialist (Belarussian)

Emily Payne

Dr. Thomson's social worker

Peg Hutchins

Aideen's next-door neighbor; Danny's second wife

Danny Hutchins

Aideen's next-door neighbor; Peg's husband

Gerry Frasier

Curator, St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh

Lynn McEverett

Secretary, St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh

Eanid Hutchins

Danny's first wife; deceased

Fr Diarmuid Finnian

Ballinskelligs parish priest (pastor); retired

Karin Wallace

Owner, Laune Health & Beauty, Killorglin

Sheela Kendrick

Server at Jack's Bakery, Killorglin

Sister Mary Agnes

Nun at St Joseph's Nursing Home, Killorglin (greeter)

Sister Consolata

Nun at St Joseph's Nursing Home, Killorglin (caregiver)

Kelly MacNiall

Barmaid at Cable O'Leary's Pub, Ballinskelligs

Ronnie O'Hearn

Ballinskelligs native; pub patron

Sam Breen

Ballinskelligs native; pub patron

Darren Lavery

Cook at Cable O'Leary's Pub, Ballinskelligs

Kyle Dorrian

21-year-old Ballinskelligs native; student at St Patrick's College, Maynooth

Joey Breen

Sam's brother; leader of Celtic band trio, with Bryan and Tim

Hugh Whelan

Registration clerk at Ballinskelligs Inn

Brian Dorrian

Kyle's father; Caitlin's high school classmate

Natalie Giordano

Marco's sister; runs family olive plantation in Fiesole

Papa Giordano

Marco's father; deceased

Cristina De Lecce

26-year-old graduate student at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome

Sergio Lamberto

Roman restaurant waiter

Philippe Gotti

Vatican Swiss Guard

Dámaso La Macera

Vatican archaeologist

Shanon Dorrian

Kyle's mother

Margie McGee

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse

Anna Lynch

Emergency department nurse

Ide Taggart

Acute Medical Admissions Unit nurse

Erin Anthony

Pediatric oncology nurse

Father Liam

Ballinskelligs curate (assistant) priest

Captain Burke

Owner of a Ballinskelligs ferry to Skellig Michael

Carmela Parri

Marco's assistant

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* Fictional † Biblical

Brother Murrough*

Lone monk protecting relic on Skellig Michael as monastery moved to Ballinskelligs

Mary Magdalene†

Follower of Jesus; cured of seven demons


Mother of Jesus

Brigid of Kildare [St Brigit]

Abbess; close friend of Padraig

Padraig of Armagh [St Patrick]

Abbot; originated Irish monastic movement

Brother Tomas*

Monk; pupil of Padraig; with Brigid founded Gallarus oratory and Reask monastery

Pope Simplicius

Papacy 468-483

Romulus Augustulus

Roman emperor deposed by Odoacer at fall of Western Roman Empire (476)

Conlaeth of Kildare [St Conleth]

Abbot and bishop; friend of Brigid

Alill mac Nad Froich

Brother of Óengus mac Nad Froich, first Christian king of Munster (Cashel)

Simon Peter†

Apostle of Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth†

Emmanuel and Christ, the Messiah


Apostle of Jesus; brother of Simon Peter

Fionán [St Finnian]

Monk; founded Skellig Michael monastery

Broccán [St Brogan]

Monk; nephew of Padraig

Brother Weylyn*

Monk; one of ten to assist Brigid in building Gallarus oratory and Reask monastery

Clovis I

First king of the Franks; son of Childeric; baptized at prompting of wife Clotilde

Pope Symmachus

Papacy 498-514


Father of apostles James and John; Salome's husband


Apostle of Jesus; son of Zebedee, brother of James


Mother of apostles James and John; Zebedee's wife


Apostle of Jesus; son of Zebedee, brother of John


Sister of Jesus's close friend Lazarus (and possibly of Mary Magdalene)

Áed Dub mac Colmáin [St Áed]

Distant cousin of Brigid; king of Leinster; later entered Kildare monastery

Bréanainn [St Brendan]

Monk; pupil of Fionán; traveled extensively by boat; founded an early Brittany monastery

Cóemgen [St Kevin]

Monk and hermit; founded Glendalough monastery


Jewish Pharisee and member of the ruling Sanhedrin


Jewish Pharisee and member of the ruling Sanhedrin


Jewish high priest at time of Jesus' crucifixion

Joseph of Arimathea†

Jewish Pharisee and member of the ruling Sanhedrin; Jesus' body was laid in his tomb


Maid at the home of the Evangelist Mark's mother Mary


Disciple of Jesus; author of the second canonical Gospel

Malachy of Armagh [St Malachy]

12th-century purported author of Prophecy of the Popes

Pope Benedict XVI

Papacy 2005-2013; personal name Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger

Constantine Augustus

Roman emperor Constantine the Great; decreed Christian tolerance (313)

Marinus of Arles

Early bishop in Gaul; led First Council of Arles condemning Donatism (314)

Rhétice of Autun [St Reticius]

Early bishop in Gaul; attended First Council of Arles

Austromoine of Auvergne [St Stremonius]

Early bishop in Gaul; attended First Council of Arles

Pope Silvester I

Papacy 314-335

Trophime of Arles [St Trophimus]

First bishop of Arles (ca. 250); entombed at Alyscamps necropolis (relics later moved)


A Roman soldier guarding the Via Aurelia during the First Council of Arles


Officer in Roman army accompanying Constantine to Arles (314)

Daphnus of Vaison

Early bishop in Gaul; attended First Council of Arles

Rémi of Reims [St Remigius]

Bishop; mentor to Sidonius; baptized King Clovis (496) thus Christianizing the Franks

Childeric I

First Merovingian King of the Salian Franks; father of Clovis I


Last Roman military commander in Gaul; defeated by Clovis I (486)

Sidonius Apollinaris of Auvergne [St Sidonius]

Bishop; Gallo-Roman aristocratic diplomat and prolific author

Brieuc [St Brioc]

Welsh cleric; studied in Ireland; later founded an oratory in Brittany

Moninne of Killeavy [St Moninne]

Abbess; raised by Brigid; baptized, confirmed, and likely veiled by Padraig

Pope John I

Papacy 523-526

Pope Hormisdas

Papacy 514-523

Neacht of Kildare*

Nun; inferior of Brigid


Apostle of Jesus

Innkeeper at Ocsimor*

Provided lodging for the retinue of King Childebert

Childebert I

King of the Franks (Paris, Órleans); son of Clovis I and Clotilde

Paol Aorelian [St Paulinus Aurelianus]

First bishop of Léon, Brittany

Pope Pius IX [Pio Nono]

Papacy 1846-1878; personal name Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti

Giovanni Battista De Rossi

Archaeologist and Vatican archivist; rediscovered Callixtus catacombs (1849)

Michele Stefano De Rossi

Seismologist and topographer; Giovanni's younger brother

Vittorio Emanuele II

King of Italy (1861-1878)

Cardinal Paul Cullen

First Irish cardinal (1866)

Augustine of Hippo [St Augustine]

Bishop; early Christian theologian and philosopher

Pope Pius XI

Papacy 1922-1939; personal name Achille Ambrogio Damiano Ratti

Ludwig Kaas

Vatican priest; papal prelate and canon of the Basilica of Saint Peter

Seán Ó Conaill (fictionalized)

Ballinskelligs altar boy from Kildreelig; oldest child of widower father

Father Sullivan*

Ballinskelligs parish priest

Conall Mag Aonghuis*

Ballinskelligs altar boy from Dungeagan

Fiona Reid Reilly*

Maire's mother

Malachi Reilly*

Maire's father

Pope Pius XII

Papacy 1939-1958; personal name Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli

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