Celtic and Old English Saints          16 October

* St. Gall of Ireland
* St. Kiara of Kilkeary
* St. Lull of Mainz
* St. Conogan of Quimper
* St. Eliphius of Toul

St. Gall of Ireland, Abbot and Hermit, Enlightener of Switzerland
Born in Ireland; died at Arbon, Switzerland, c. 640. Saint Gall studied
at Bangor under Saints Comgall (f.d. May 11) and
Columban (f.d. November 23), became versed in Scripture, and was
ordained. He was one of the 12 who accompanied Saint Columban to Gaul
(France) and helped him found the abbey of Luxeuil. He continued to
follow Columban into exile in 610 and then to Austrasia, where he
preached with little success in the region around Lake Zurich, and for
two years in the area near Bregenz.

When Columban went to Italy in 612, Gall remained behind because of ill
health and on his recovery became a hermit on the Steinach River,
attracting numerous disciples. In time, Saint Gall Monastery occupied
this site and during the Middle Ages was a leading centre of literature,
the arts, and music.

According to one story Columban and Gall parted ways because the leader
suspected Gall of malingering, and imposed on him a penance, which Gall
faithfully observed, of not offering the Holy Sacrifice during the
continuance of Columban's life.

Reputedly he was twice offered bishoprics by King Sigebert, whose
betrothed he had freed of a demon. He is also reported to have been
offered the abbacy of Luxeuil on the death of Saint Eustace (f.d. March
29) but declined, to remain a hermit. He died sometime between 627 and
645 at Arbon, Switzerland, and is considered the apostle of that country
(Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopaedia).

In later times many legends grew up about him which had little basis in
fact. He was not, for instance, the founder of the
renowned monastery which bore his name; this was inaugurated about a
century after his death, on the site of his settlement, and is now
represented by the cathedral at Sankt Gallen and the very famous
monastic library there (Attwater, Encyclopaedia, Joynt).

In art, Saint Gall is portrayed as an abbot blessing a bear that brings
him a log of wood. He may be shown holding a hermit's tau staff with
the bear or carrying a loaf and a pilgrim's staff (Roeder). Gall is
venerated as an apostle of Switzerland and as
the patron of geese and poultry (Roeder).

Troparion of St Gall tone 8
As a companion of the great Columban,/ thou didst travel throughout the
lands of the Franks, O Father Gall,/ thy ascetic life contrasting with
that of the worldly prelates whom thou didst encounter./ Open to us, we
pray thee, the treasures of sacrifice and struggle,/ that we too may
attain the joy of eternal salvation.

Icons of Saint Gall

St. Kiara (Chier, Ciara) of Kilkeary, Virgin
Died c. 680. An Irish maiden, directed in the religious life by Saint
Finian (f.d. October 21). She lived near Nenagh, County
Tipperary, at a place now called after her: Kilkeary (Benedictines).

St. Lull (Lullus) of Mainz, Bishop
Died at Hersfeld, 786. Probably a native of Wessex, England, he was
educated at Malmesbury Monastery, where he became a deacon. At 20 he
travelled to Germany, where he laboured as a missionary, noted for his
learning, under Saint Boniface (f.d. June 5), who ordained him.

He was sent to Rome on a mission to Pope Saint Zachary (f.d. March 15)
by Boniface, was consecrated his coadjutor when he returned, and
succeeded to the see of Mainz on Boniface's death. He was a most worthy
successor, a good pastor and zealous missionary. Letters to and from him
show that he was anxious to form a good library, and he in turn was
asked to send books to other people.

He became involved in a long jurisdictional dispute with Saint Sturmi
(f.d. December 17), abbot of Fulda, deposed him, but saw him restored
and the abbey declared independent by King Pepin. This led to Lull
refounding the monastery of Hersfeld in Hesse c. 768, where he retired
late in life (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney).

St. Conogan (Gwen, Albinus) of Quimper, Bishop
Died 460. This is one of those saints that is next to impossible to
locate. Conogan is one spelling of 'Gwen,' which means 'white,' and so
in turn is translated into the Latin 'Albinus.' Conogan was the
successor to Saint Conentin (12-12) in the see of Quimper, Brittany. His
memory is still held in great veneration there (Benedictines).

St. Eliphius (Eloff) of Toul, Martyr
Died 362. An Irishman--or Scot--by birth, Saint Eliphius preached the
Gospel of Christ in Toul, France, and won about 400 souls for Christ.
Eliphius, his brother Eucharius, and two sisters were beheaded at Toul
under Julian the Apostate. Mount Eliph, where they were buried, honours
his memory. Their relics were translated to Cologne, Germany, in the
10th century (Benedictines, D'Arcy, McManus, Montague).


Attwater, D. (1983). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, NY:
Penguin Books.

Benedictine Monks of Saint Augustine Abbey, Ramsgate.
(1947). The Book of Saints. NY: Macmillan.

D'Arcy, M. R. (1974). The Saints of Ireland. Saint Paul, Minnesota:
Irish American Cultural Institute. [This is probably the most
useful book to choose to own on the Irish saints. The author
provides a great deal of historical context in which to place the
lives of the saints.]

Delaney, J. J. (1983). Pocket Dictionary of Saints, NY:
Doubleday Image.

Encyclopaedia of Catholic Saints, October. (1966).
Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

Joynt, M. (tr.). (1927). The Life of Saint Gall.

McManus, S. (1944). Story of the Irish Race. New York:

Montague, H. P. (1981). The Saints and Martyrs of Ireland.
Guildford: Billing & Sons.

Roeder, H. (1956). Saints and Their Attributes, Chicago: Henry

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