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May Saints

Discover Scotland's Saints, some are well known, but most of the rest will not be. Piecing together the lives of these early Catholics in Scotland is not easy and is beset by legend, poor translations and often quite scant information. However, there is much to learn, not least it tells us something about the people who venerated these men and women. 

St Asaph, 590 AD - 

May 1st

His memory lies in the connection he had with St Kentigern, his master, whom he followed to Wales and when it was time for Kentigern to return to Scotland, was left in charge of what became a large and important monastic community on the banks of the Elwy in South Wales. His name has been remembered there to this day. There is potentially a place of veneration of his on Skye, near Broadford called Aiseag however this maybe a simplistic transliteration and could have more to do with Maelrubha. 

St Fumac

May 3rd

He is primarily connected with Botriphinie Church which is near Drummuir on the road between Dufftown and Keith in Morayshire. At one point Forbes notes, a wooden icon of his was kept by an 'old lady' who would wash it with great formality each May 3rd. However, disaster struck and the icon was washed away in a flood, eventually finding its way to Banff in 1847. Records indicate a zealous local parish minister threw it to the flames to stamp out this 'dangerous superstition'. He seems to have also been remembered in Caithness at 'Dinet' which is probably Dunnet. There is an association here at Watten with an old chapel that may have been dedicated to him, though St Katherine and St Talocran was also popular here. 

St Comgall

May 10th 

Please see Dr Carly McNamaras article here. 

St Cattan of Bute

May 17th

A Saint connected most intimately with the Isle of Bute and is alternatively the uncle or tutor (or both) of St Blaain (Blane/Blaan) who had returned from Ireland. The earliest record of this link refers to Cattan as: 'Cattan the abstinent stern warrior'. Little else is known of his life but he has a variety of places venerating him and it was from him that Clan Chattan took their name. He is remembered in places such as Kingarth in Bute, wells and chapels on Gigha, Colonsay, Kintyre at Southend, Ardnamurchan, Ardchattan Priory and Parish church in Argyllshire, and Luing. 

St Conval, 7th Century

May 18th/September 28th

Depending on source his feast day can be slightly different. He is the patron of Cumnock and Ochiltree but it is at Inchinnan in Renfrew we see the most certainty linking place and name. There are quite a few Saints mentioned with similar name but this one - Convallus was Irish and had been connected with Kentigern having left Ireland on what became known as St Convals chariot, a rock that bore him into the Clyde. The rock itself became a place of healing and many other miracles were attested to him. It seems the church at Inchinnan held his relics for quite a long time, but as ever such objects are now lost to us. However wonderfully Inchinnan retained St Convals chariot and you can still find it if you visit. 

St Bede

25th May

There is little point me re-writing a summary of Bede when you can read a wonderful piece that Eleanor Parker (@clerkofoxford), an historian and writer has already composed and allowed me to reproduce here

St William, Martyr, AD 1201

23rd May

William, a Baker, experienced a radical conversion as a youth in Perthshire and would give a tenth of his bread to the poor alongside other holy acts. He even took in a young man out of pity, who unfortunately for William decided to kill him near Rochester as they journeyed south on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. A few days later a mentally ill woman found him but was cured by touching the body of William. Word got round and he was transferred into the Cathedral which became a lively place of Pilgrimage for all those seeking healing. So busy were they that it was fancied you could see how worn the steps were near to the altar in which is relics were translated. 

See also an article about St William and pilgrimage here.

St Dagnus

29th May

Receiving his training at Bangor Abbey he crossed the Irish Sea and became Bishop of the Scoti probably in Galloway. He is mentioned by Bede in his histories having very little truck with a delegation of missionaries sent over from Rome. He had also held the Bishop of Canterbury with low regard. The Roman delegation, Bede wrote, were eating in a particular Inn and so incensed was our Daganus, not only would he not eat with them - he wouldn't even eat in the same place as them. 

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