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1 June

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  • ambrois@xtra.co.nz
    Celtic and Old English Saints 1 June =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= * St. Herve of Brittany * St. Ruadan of Cornwall & Brittany * St. Whyte
    Message 1 of 14 , Jun 1, 2013
      Celtic and Old English Saints 1 June

      * St. Herve of Brittany
      * St. Ruadan of Cornwall & Brittany
      * St. Whyte of Dorset
      * St. Wistan of Evesham
      * St. Thecla of Denbighshire
      * St. Ronan of Kilmaronen
      * St. Caprais of Lerins

      St. Herve of Brittany, Abbot
      (Harvey, Herveus, Huva)

      Died 575 AD.. Saint Herve is venerated throughout Brittany but we have
      few reliable particulars on him--his life was not written until the late
      medieval period. All we really know is that he was a hermit in Brittany,
      where he is still highly venerated and where Herve is one of the most
      popular names for boys.

      The story goes that a young British bard named Hyvarnion, a pupil of
      Saint Cadoc, lived at the court of Childebert, king of the Franks. After
      four years, desiring to return to his native land, he set off through
      Brittany, where one day, riding through a wood, he heard a young girl
      singing. The sweetness of her voice made him curious and, dismounting
      from his horse, he made his way through the trees to where in a sunny
      glade he found a maiden gathering herbs. He asked her what they were
      for. "This herb,"
      she replied, "drives away sadness, that one banishes blindness, and I
      look for the herb of life that drives away death." Hyvarnion, forgetting
      his homeward journey, in that hour loved her, and later he married her.

      After three years they had a son who was born blind, and in their sorrow
      they called him Herve, which means bitterness. When he was two years
      old, his father died, and the mother, Rivanon, and child were left poor
      and friendless. In her grief she sang to him and he grew up to love
      poetry and music. When Herve was seven, Rivanon gave him into the care
      of a holy man named Arthian and she became a hermit. The child wandered
      about the countryside singing and begging, led by a white dog which he
      held on a string. To this day the Bretons sing a ballad of the blind
      child, led by his dog, singing as he shivered in the wind and the rain,
      with no shoes on his bare feet, his teeth chattering with the cold.

      At age 14, with his mother's approval, he sought out an uncle who was a
      hermit and kept a monastic school in the forest at Plouvien. His uncle
      welcomed him, and soon Herve excelled in knowledge beyond all his other
      pupils. On his uncle's death, he became abbot. Every morning the
      children gathered to be taught by their blind master, and every evening
      they left "like a swarm of bees issuing from a hollow oak." He
      instructed them in music and poetry, and, above all, in the Christian
      way of life.

      "When you wake up in bed," he said, "offer your hearts to the good God,
      make the sign of the Cross and say with faith and hope and love, 'I give
      You my heart, my body and my soul. Make me a good man.' When you see a
      crow fly, think of the devil, black and evil. When you see a dove fly,
      think of your angel, gentle and white. Think of God, as the sun makes
      the wild roses bloom on the mountains. In the evening, before going to
      bed, say your prayers that a white angel may come from heaven and watch
      you till the dawn. This is the true way to live as Christians. Practice
      my song, and you will lead holy lives."

      In addition to teaching, Herve worked the fields near the school. He was
      venerated for his holiness and his miracles. One day a wolf ate the
      donkey with which he was ploughing the fields. The young child who was
      Herve's guide cried out in fear, but at Herve's prayers, the wolf put
      himself into the donkey's harness and finished the work to be done.

      Later he decided to move the community to Leon. There the bishop wanted
      to ordain him priest, but Herve humbly declined. Thus, although he was
      never a priest, Herve is said to have participated in the solemn
      anathematizing of the tyrannical ruler Conomor, c. 550. From Leon the
      holy group travelled west. Beside the road to Lesneven is the fountain
      of Saint Herve, which he is said to have caused to flow to satisfy the
      thirst of his companions. Finally, they settled and Herve built a
      monastery at Lanhouarneau in Finistere, which earned a great reputation.

      Coming out from his monastery, where he lived for the rest of his life,
      Herve would travel forth periodically to preach or act as exorcist. He
      was no longer led by a white dog, but by his little niece, Kristine, who
      lived near him in a cottage of thatch and wattle built for her by the
      monks, and who, gay as a fairy, sang to him as she gathered flowers for
      the altar. When he came to die, he said to her: "Tina, my dear, make my
      bed ready, but make it not as is wont. Make it on the hard earth, before
      the altar, at the feet of Jesus. Place a stone for my bolster, and strew
      my bed with ashes." Weeping, she carried out his wish, and said: "May I
      follow in due course, as the boat follows the ship."

      As his monks watched at his deathbed, they were said to have heard the
      music of the heavenly choirs welcoming him to heaven. So died the blind
      Breton saint, who had taught in the school in the forest, and who all
      his life, despite his blindness, had given glory to God.

      Until the French Revolution, a chapel (now destroyed) near Cleder in
      Finistere possessed a most unusual relics: the cradle in which Saint
      Herve had been rocked (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopaedia,
      Gill, White).

      In art, Saint Herveus is a blind abbot telling frogs to be quiet or
      being led by a wolf (Roeder) or his child guide. He is invoked against
      eye problems (Delaney). Breton mothers threaten their mischievous
      children with his wolf (White).

      Image of St Herve

      St Hervп═Б└√ is thought to be the composer of the popular and moving "kantik
      ar baradoz" (an hymn to paradise) often sung at funerals. To listen to

      Troparion of St Herve Tone l
      O Herve, thou minstrel and teacher of the Faith,/ thy sweet voice
      enlightened the darkness though thou wast born without the gift of
      sight./ Pray that the light of Christ may ever dispel the new pagan
      darkness from our lands,/ that God may be glorified.

      St. Ruadan of Cornwall (of Quimper), Bishop
      (also known as Ronan, Rumon, Ruadhan, Ruan)

      Died 6th century. Ordained by Saint Patrick. Saint Ruadan was patron of
      the abbey of Tavistock in Devonshire, as well as several places in
      Cornwall and Brittany. He is important in the traditions of Brittany,
      where he died, and the region of Laon. Ruadan is buried at Locronan.
      Every six years the faithful make a processional pilgrimage along the
      traditional 10-mile route
      followed by Ruadan during his mission. Today's saint should not be
      confused with the Irish Saint Ruadan (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia,
      Farmer, Gill, Montague).

      "Just as England has her Cornwall, so has Brittany her Cornouille, viz.
      Amorican Cornwall....

      " Every sixth year a 'pardon' was held in honour of the sixth century
      saint S.Ronan. The Grande Tromenie is held on the second Sunday of July,
      and is a mass procession that follows the route [10 miles - Fr. A]taken
      by two oxen who, on the saint's death, were allowed to wander of their
      own accord from his place of death to a place of burial ( the hill
      outside the village of Locranon). After a service in the church nearly
      15,000 worshippers climb the hill with their relics, past crosses and
      other memorials. The author complained that he could only find
      refreshment at the summit in drinking syrups, each stickier than the
      last. How different, he complains, from the Godless hordes of England's
      Epsom and Derby Day.

      Extract from "The Grande Tromenie of Locronan,
      in Amorican Cornwall, Seen in July 1911 and
      Described by Niall, Duke of Argyll," Published London, 1914,
      Society of Ss. Peter & Paul

      St. Whyte (Gwen, White, Wite, Witta, Candida)
      Anchoress and Martyr
      Date unknown. We don't really know much about Saint Whyte, though there
      are several possibilities according to various legends. She gave her
      name to the place where she is buried, Whitchurch Canonicorum in Dorset.
      Her modest shrine is the only one, other than that of Saint Edward the
      Confessor, to have survived intact. There are several theories on her
      identification. She may be a West Saxon of whom no other record
      survives. She might be the Welsh Saint Gwen whose relics King Athelstan
      gave to this church. A third theory holds that Saint Whyte is actually
      the male Bishop Saint Albinus of Buraburg, also known as Saint Witta, a
      companion of Saint Boniface, martyred with him and then translated back
      to Wessex. William Worcestre and John Gerard both mentioned her relics.
      Thomas More referred to the custom of offering cakes or cheese to the
      saint on her feast--probably only at this church. In 1900, her leaden
      coffin was opened. It was inscribed "Hic requiescunt reliquie sancte
      Wite." The badly damaged reliquary held the bones of a small woman who
      died about the age of 40, so it appears that the third theory fails

      Additional information: St. Whyte (Gwen) was a Saxon murdered by Danish
      pirates, according to Alan Smith's book, Sixty Saxon Saints. The church
      where her relics are enshrined was given by King Alfred to his youngest
      son. The shrine itself is 13th

      St. Wistan, King of England, Martyred at Evesham
      (Winston, Wystan, Wigstan)
      Died June 1, 849. Wistan, prince of Mercia and grandson of King Wiglaf
      of Mercia (827-840), is said to have been put to death by King Bertulph
      (Bertric or Brifardus) of Mercia, when he was regent of the kingdom
      during Wistan's youth. Bertulph was his great-uncle, brother to Wiglaf.
      The murder may have been because Wistan opposed the marriage of his
      mother Enfleda, daughter of Celwulph, to Bertulph (believing it to be
      incestuous) or simply because Wistan would eventually come of age and
      reclaim power. Bertulph's son Berfert (or Brithfard), who would be
      heir, invited Wiston to meet him at what is now Wistanstow (Wistow in
      Leicestershire?). As the saint saluted his cousin with a kiss of peace,
      Berfert cut off the upper part of his head with his sword. Then an
      attendant stabbed him and three of his companions. Before the end of
      the year, Bertulph
      was deposed by King Ethelwolph.

      Wistan was buried by his mother in Repton Abbey in Derbyshire near his
      father Wigmund and grandfather. The site of a peculiarly extravagant
      legend: According to Thomas of Marleberge, writing in the 12th century,
      annually 'hair' grew from the ground at Wistanstow where the martyr
      fell. The phenomenon was verified by a commission sent by Archbishop
      Baldwin of Canterbury. In 1019, his relics were translated to the site
      of his shrine at in Evesham Abbey at the request of Abbot Alfwaerd, who
      later became bishop of London.

      Some of Wistan miracles were suspected and verified twice. During the
      lifetime of Blessed Lanfranc (f.d. May 24), Walter of Cerisy was abbot
      of Evesham. He subjected Wistan's severed head to an ordeal by fire
      from which it emerged unscathed.

      Wistan had a popular local cultus at Shropshire and Evesham. There are
      three ancient church dedications to Saint Wistan, including those at
      Wistow and Wigston. (Attwater2, Benedictines, Farmer, Gill, Husenbeth).

      In art, Wistan is a Saxon prince leaning on a sword. He is venerated at
      Repton (Roeder).

      St. Tegla (Thecla) of Denbighshire, Virgin
      Date unknown. Tegla is the titular patron of the church and holy well at
      Llandegla in Denbighshire (Benedictines).

      St. Ronan of Kilmaronen, Bishop
      (also known as Ruadan, Ruadhan)
      Main feastday is 7 February.

      Saint Ronan, a Scottish bishop of Kilmaronen, has erroneously been
      identified as the Irish monk mentioned by the Venerable Bede as the
      defender of the Roman calculation for the date of Easter at the Synod of
      Whitby. St. Ronan's Well at Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, was popularised
      by one of Sir Walter Scott's novels. According to tradition, Ronan came
      into the valley and drove out the devil. This event is remembered
      annually at the end of "Saint Ronan's Games" in July when a schoolboy,
      given a pastoral staff, is chosen to represent the saint as he "cleeks
      the devil" (Farmer).

      St. Caprasius (Caprais) of Lerins, Abbot
      Born in Gaul; died c. 430. Saint Caprasius retired to the island of
      Lerins to live as a hermit. He wasn't alone for long. Soon he was joined
      by Saint Honoratus and his elder brother Saint Venantius. Together they
      travelled to the East to visit the monastic colonies there. Venantius
      died in Greece; the other two returned to Lerins, where Saint Honoratus
      founded the famous abbey, and on his being appointed bishop of Arles, he
      was succeeded by Caprasius as abbot (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia).

      These Lives are archived at:
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