Celtic and Old English Saints          6 June

* St. Jarlath of Tuam
* St. Gudwal of Cornwall
* St. Cocca, Virgin of Kilcock

St. Jarlath of Tuam, Bishop
Patron of the Archdiocese of Tuam, born in Connaught about 445; died 26
December, (al., 11 Feb.), about 540. Jarlath is regarded as the founder
and principle patron of the Archdiocese of Tuam in Galway, Ireland. He
belonged to the Conmaicne family, perhaps the most important and
powerful family in Galway during that period.

Having studied under St. Benen (Benignus), he founded a monastery at
Cluian Fois (Cloonfush), just outside Tuam, and presided over that
monastery as abbot-bishop. The monastery soon attracted scholars from
all parts of Ireland. The fame of Cluian Fois is sufficiently attested
by two of its pupils, St. Brendan of Ardfert, and St. Colman of Cloyne.

But, great teacher as he was, he went, through humility, to avail
himself of the instruction of St. Enda at Arran about 495. He removed to
Tuam about the second decade of sixth century.

St. Jarlath is included in the second order of Irish saints, and on that
account he must have lived to the year 540. The "Felire" of Aengus tells
us that he was noted for his fasting, watching, and mortification. Three
hundred times by day and three hundred times by night did this saint
bend the knee in prayer, and he was also endowed with the gift of

His feast is kept on 6 June, being the date of the translation of his
relics to a church specially built in his honour, adjoining the
cathedral of Tuam. His remains were encased in a silver shrine, whence
the church--built in the thirteenth century--was called Teampul na
scrнn, that is the church of the shrine.

Another Life...

St. Jarlath, Bishop of Tuam
(c.A.D. 550)

The archdiocese of Tuam in Galway venerates St. Jarlath as its principal
patron and as the founder of its ancient episcopal seat. This saint is
not to be identified with his earlier namesake, one of St. Patrick's
disciples, who became bishop of Armagh, and whose festival is kept on
February 11. St. Jarlath of Tuam ranks with the second class of Irish
saints, viz. those whose activities belong rather to the sixth than to
the fifth century. No traditional "acts" are available for the
reconstruction of the saint's history: only a bare outline of his career
can be derived from allusions to him in glosses of late date--allusions
which are often puzzling and do not always agree. His father is said to
have belonged to the noble Conmaicne family which dominated a large
district in Galway, and his mother, called Mongfinn, or the Lady of the
Fair Tresses, was the daughter of Cirdubhan of the Cenneans. The date
of his birth is quite unknown.

In early youth he was sent to be trained by a holy man, who eventually
ordained him and his cousin Caillin, or perhaps presented them for
ordination. St. Benignus is quoted by some writers as having been that
master, but Benignus died about the year 469, when Jarlath could
scarcely have been old enough for the priesthood. It seems probable
that the writers were confusing him with the other Jarlath, who
succeeded St. Benignus in the see of Armagh. As a priest St. Jarlath is
supposed to
have returned to his native district, where he founded a monastery at
Cluain Fois--the meadow of rest--a short distance from the present town
of Tuam. Over this community he ruled as abbot-bishop, honoured by all
for his piety and learning. In connection with the monastery he opened
a school which attained great renown. Among his pupils were St. Brendan
of Clonfert, and St. Colman son of Lenine, the "royal bard of Munster",
who went to study at Cluain Fois after he had been induced by St Brendan
and St Ita to renounce his worldly career.

St Jarlath appears to have died about the middle of the sixth century.
His feast is kept throughout Ireland.

The whole matter is very uncertain, though Colgan, "Acta Sanctorum
Hiberniae, vol. i, pp. 307-308, professes to give some account of this
saint. There are references to him in Healy, Ireland's Ancient Schools
and Scholars; J. Ryan, Irish Monasticism; and O'Hanlon, LIS. And see
"Acta Sanctorum, November, vol. iv, pp. 147-186.

>From "Butler's Lives of the Saints," Complete Edition, Edited, Revised,
and Supplemented by Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater,
Christian Classics, a division of Thomas More Publications, Allen, Texas

Images of St Jarleth's church at Tuam

St. Gudwal, Abbot and Bishop in Cornwall,
Near Penzance

St. Gudwall, Gunwall, or Gunvell, was born in Wales about A.D. 500.
Being entirely devoted to religion, he collected eighty-eight monks in a
little island called Plecit, being no more than a rock surrounded by
water. For some reason however, he abandoned this establishment, and
passed by sea into Cornwall; and from thence he went into Devonshire,
where he betook himself to the most holy, perfect, and useful state of a
solitary anchorite; at length however again emerging, he sailed into
Brittany, and there succeeded St. Malo, as bishop of that see, although
he is said even then to have dwelt in a solitary cell, and to have died
there at a very advanced age. His relics have been widely distributed,
and various places in France have been called by his name.

St. Gudwal is known to have been a prominent figure in the Breton Church
during the sixth century, from whence his relics were removed during a
period of Viking activity. They were translated with due ceremony in 959
to the abbey of Mont Blandin, Ghent, where subsequently his feast was
kept on 6 June.

St. Cocca, Virgin of Kilcock, Ireland

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