Celtic and Old English Saints          5 November

* St. Kanten of Wales
* St. Kea of Devon and Cornwall
* St. Bertila of Chelles

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St. Kanten (Cannen) of Wales
8th century. Founder of Llanganten Abbey (Brecknock) (Benedictines).

St. Kea, Bishop of Devon and Cornwall
(Kay, Ke, Kenan, Quay)
6th century. The British saint Kea left his name to Kea in Cornwall and
Landkey in Devon, where he is still venerated. He
passed some of his life and died in Brittany, where he is venerated as
Saint Quay (at Saint-Quay in northern Brittany and Saint-Quay-Portrieux
near Saint Brieuc). The details of his life are very uncertain;
however, it is possible that as Kea, Fili, and Saint Ruadan (f.d. April
15) travelled from Glastonbury into Devon and Cornwall they founded
churches and monasteries. Less certain is Kea's noble parentage and
association with Saint Gildas (f.d.January 29), who is said to have made
his bells (Benedictines,Farmer). In art he is depicted as a bishop
ploughing with seven stags (in pictures from Brittany); sometimes waters
gushes from a rock that he has struck (Roeder). Saint Kea is invoked
against toothache (Farmer).

Another Life
< http://homepages.tesco.net/~k.wasley/stkea.htm >

About the Fifth century, a young Irish monk watched with anguish as his
brother monks sailed away from the southern shore of Ireland to preach
the word of God to the heathen in England. Such was his distress at
being left behind that he fell in a swoon while praying upon a hollow
granite boulder and, on wakening, found to his amazement that his
kneeling Stone was floating. This continued to do, day and night through
storm and tempest, until it finally drifted gently ashore on the bank of
the river Fal at what is known as Churchtown Creek. There he founded a
monastery. His name was Kea.


There was indeed a young monk named Kea, also known as Che, Lan-te-Ke,
and Landegea, and he was one of the lesser known Cornish Saints. He was
a son of noble parents and was admitted to the priesthood at an early
age because of ability in the sciences, rising quickly to the dignity of
Bishop. However, he gave up position , distributed his wealth to the
poor, and took up the life of a hermit. While praying for guidance, he
was told to seek a bell with which he should travel until such time as
it rang of its own accord. Obeying this instruction he found a
bell-founder Gildas, who made him a bell with which he travelled until
he crossed an inlet from the sea and entered a forest. There the bell
rang, and there he built a chapel and cells for himself and his
companions. There he stayed for some years until , after the settlement
of a dispute with a certain Theodoric, he received money sufficient for
him to enlarge the establishment to a full monastery. After this he went
to Brittany, where he eventually died at Cleder on the first Saturday in
October, about 495. A Holy well dedicated to him is to be found there.

A Monastery is Known to have existed at Old Kea in Cornwall.

St Kea was probably one of several monks who came from Glastonbury to
found centres of Christian worship in the West Country. Among his
companions would of been Fili and Rumon. The names of Kea and Fili are
also linked in other parts of the west of England, Kea may have been a
descendant of Paternus (or Padarn) King of Cornwall, and there are
references to links with King Arthur and some of his Knights. His Feast
Day is the anniversary of his death, the Sunday after the first Saturday
in October, and his help is sometimes invoked to cure toothache.

Troparion of St Kea tone 1
Thou wast unsparing in thy missionary labours/ in Brittany and Cornwall,
O Hierarch Kea./ As thou didst make the flame of the orthodox Faith burn
brightly in the face of defiant paganism,/ pray to God for us,/ that we
devote our lives to confronting the paganism of our times/ for the glory
of Christ's Kingdom and the salvation of men's souls.

St. Bertila (Bertilla) of Chelles, Virgin
Born in Soissons; died c. 705. With the encouragement of Saint Ouen
(f.d. August 24), Bertila convinced her parents to allow her to enter
the convent at Jouarre, near Meaux, in Brie, France. There she was
trained in sanctity at the school of Saint Columbanus (f.d. November 21)
and later was received as a professed nun by Saint Thelchildes (f.d.
June 28).

Bertila was convinced that she could never deserve to be the spouse of
Jesus Christ, unless she endeavoured to follow him in the path of
humiliation and self-denial. By her perfect submission to all her
sisters, she seemed everyone's servant. Her whole conduct was a model
of humility, obedience, regularity, and devotion.

She held the offices of infirmarian, headmistress of the convent school,
and prioress. When Saint Bathildis (f.d. January 30), the English wife
of Clovis II, restored the convent of Chelles, she asked the abbess to
send to it her most experienced and virtuous sisters. Saint Bertila was
made its first abbess and she governed it for half a century. Many
placed themselves under her direction, including Queen Bathildis
herself, when Clotaire reached his majority.

The Venerable Bede writes that many Anglo-Saxon girls, including Saint
Hereswitha (f.d. September 3), wife of King Anna of the East Angles,
sister of Saint Hilda (f.d. November 17), and mother of Saints, Sexburga
(f.d. July 6), Withburga (f.d. July 8), and Ethelburga (f.d. October
12), were also attracted to Chelles under her governance. Thus, two holy
queens vied with Bertila to outdo one another in submission, charity,
and humility (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Husenbeth, Walsh).

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