Celtic and Old English Saints          29 August

* St. Fiacre of Breuil, & Kilfiachra
* St. Sebbi of the East Saxons
* St. Edwold of Carne
* St. Velleicus of Kaiserswerth
* St. Winnoc of Rath-Easpuic Innic

St. Fiacre of Breuil, & Kilfiachra (Ireland)
(Fiachra, Fiaker, Fiacrius, Fialer, Fevre)
Born in Ireland; died c. 670; feast day formerly August 30. The Irish
hermit of Kilfiachra, Saint Fiacre, migrated to Gaul about 626 where he
was given hospitality and a piece of land by Saint Faro (f.d. October
28) at Meaux, which was part of his own patrimony. Tradition has it
that Bishop Faro offered him as much land as he could turn up in a day,
and that Fiacre, instead of using a plough, drove furrows into the
ground with the point of his staff. He cleared the land of tree and
made himself a cell and garden, and built an oratory to the Blessed
Virgin. Thus, Fiacre's hermitage arose, which became the abbey of
Breuil to house his many disciples, and a hospice for travellers.

Although many sought his advice, and the poor and sick looked to him for
relief, he strictly guarded his hermitage and chapel from women. Stories
are told about the fates of those females who trespassed--even after his
death. There was a persistent tradition that Fiacre had been offered
and declined the throne of Scotia (Ireland).

He has one of the strongest cults in France, one that had already
started within his own lifetime because of his extraordinary
sanctity, concern for the poor and suffering, and remarkable cures. His
chapel and shrine, eventually at Meaux, were much
visited by those seeking healings, especially those suffering from

After the Battle of Agincourt, Henry V allowed his soldiers to pillage
Fiacre's shrine, but the cart bearing his relics could not be moved
beyond the boundary of Fiacre's monastery. It is said that Henry died
of haemorrhoids on the Feast of Saint Fiacre.

Three towns (in Brie, Plougat, and Brittany) bear his name, as do 30
churches in France. He has another shrine in Ireland at
Kilkenny, and Saint Fickers Bay near Aberdeen, Scotland, also bears his
name as does a church a few miles away. When cabs for hire first
appeared in Paris in 1620, their stand was close by the Hotel
Saint-Fiacre: from this came the French "fiacre" for a taxi. Thus, the
name of an Irish saint is perpetuated in the French language (Attwater,
Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Montague, White).

In art, Saint Fiacre is portrayed as an abbot carrying a shovel. He
might also be shown in a Benedictine habit with a heavy staff,
interceding for the sick, with pilgrims in the background, and a basket
of vegetables in the foreground (Roeder).

He is venerated at Kilfiacha, Ireland, and Saint Fiacre at
Seine-et-Marne, France. He is the patron of cabdrivers, gardeners,
florists, trellis-makers, boxmakers, brass-beaters, coppersmiths,
lead-founders, needle-makers, hosiers, tile-makers, and potters. He is
also the protector of field and garden fruits (because of the
vegetables he grew around his hermitage), and invoked against fistula,
haemorrhoids, tumours, colic, headache, sterility, and sickness

Brief Life of the Gardener Saint by Richard Marius

A Garden Plaque,
and other scraps of information on St. Fiacre:

St. Sebbi, King of the East Saxons, Monk of London
(Sebba, Sebbe)
Died c. 694. Sebbe, king of the East Saxons (Essex, Hertfordshire, and
London) during the time of the Heptarchy, was the uncle of King Sighere
who married Saint Osyth (f.d. October 7). He sustained Bishop Jaruman
of Mercia in his evangelization of his people after the apostasy of
Sighere. After reigning for 30 years (664-694), Sebbe retired to London
where he lived as a hermit, known for his prayers, penance, and
almsgiving. Saint Bede (f.d. May 25) gives an account of his dignified
death. Sebbe was buried in Old Saint Paul's in London by the north
wall. He is reputed to have built the first monastery at Westminster
(Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Farmer).

St. Edwold, King and Hermit of Carne, Dorsetshire, England,
Brother of Saint Edmund the Martyr
Died 871; Farmer gives him two feast days: August 29 and the feast of
his translation, August 12. Saint Edwold is reputed to be the brother of
Saint Edmund the Martyr, king of East Anglia. He lived on bread and
water as a penitential recluse near Cerne in Dorsetshire. He worked many
miracles and was buried in his cell near which the abbey of Saint
Peter's was built. His relics were later translated into its church
(Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Farmer).

St. Velleicus (Willeic) of Kaiserswerth, Abbot
8th century. The Anglo-Saxon Saint Velleicus, disciple of Saint
Swithbert (f.d. March 1), helped to evangelize Germany and later became
abbot of Kaiserwerth on the Rhein (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia).

St. Winnoc (Uindic) of Rath-Easpuic Innic

Also on this day, 29 August, O'Hanlon lists the commemoration of St Winnoc, 
an early disciple of St Patrick and relates this miracle from The Acts of St 

WHEN with indomitable zeal, St. Patrick preached the word of God throughout 
Ireland, he found there numerous disciples, who accepted his teaching and 
profited by his example. Their names are also
recorded in the lists of our National Saints ; although, indeed, their acts 
seem discoverable in many instances, only as episodes among those given in 
Lives of the great Apostle. An instance occurs in the case of the present 
holy man. By Colgan, he is styled St. Uindic, Bishop of Rath-Easpuic Innic. 
He is also called Winnoc. In O'Sullevan Beare's Catalogue, this Saint's name 
is likewise entered. However, very little is known regarding his early 
history,or the place where he was born, He flourished in the fifth century.

This Saint is registered as one of St. Patrick's disciples ; but, when he 
became attached to the Irish apostle is uncertain. The following anecdote 
has been preserved for us, in the Acts of St. Patrick, and,
it serves to give us an idea, that while a confidential friend and esteemed 
highly by the great Patriarch of the Irish Church, Winnoc well deserved that 
trust, owing to his spirit of devotion and true
humility. At one time, St. Patrick and St. Winnoc sat together, when engaged 
at a religious conference.  While speaking of the Deity, and of things which 
especially concerned Him, these holy councillors
referred to the Divine precept of charity, and they remarked that both by 
word and work were they bound to part with their garments, to clothe 
persons, who were in need of such comforts. At that moment, a cloak appeared 
to descend from Heaven, and it fell between them. This portent they 
regarded, both as an approval of their pronounced sentiments, on the part of 
the Most High, and as an earnest of those
rewards, which they should not fail in obtaining, from the Father of lights, 
to recompense their future sacrifices.

The saints felt greatly rejoiced and comforted ; but their minds were filled 
with divergent opinions, regarding that miracle. Each one ascribed it to the 
other's merits. St. Patrick asserted, that this gift was intended for Winnoc 
who had perfectly renounced all his worldly possessions, for the sake of 
Christ. On the other hand, St. Winnoc alleged, that it had been sent to St. 
Patrick, who, although possessing everything yet kept nothing ; for, he had 
left himself naked for God's sake, while clothing numbers, who were poor and 
naked.  While such discussions, dictated by sincere humility on both sides, 
continued, the cloak was again elevated towards Heaven, and it suddenly 
disappeared. But, in its stead, two cloaks were next seen to descend from 
above. These were intended respectively for both Saints ; and thus, all 
reason for future discussion on that point was removed, owing to this 
celestial indication, that both were eminently deserving Divine approbation.

O'Hanlon, Lives of The Irish Saints, Vol 8.


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

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

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

Farmer, D. H. (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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