St. Gwinear, St. Phiala & Companions 23 March 2017

St. Gwinear, St. Phiala & Companions, Martyrs-(Fingar, Guigner, Gwinnear)

Statue of St Gwinear at Pluvigner, Brittany

Died 460. This saint’s “vita” was not written by Anselm, probably a Cornish canon, until about eight centuries after his death. There is evidence that the basics of the story are true. When Saint Patrick was evangelizing Ireland, he came to the court of King Clito and was treated with scorn. But the king’s son Gwinear was more courteous than his father. Though not yet a Christian, he recognised Patrick’s piety and rose to his feet to offer the saint his own seat.

Later, as he was hunting and at the same time meditating on Christianity, he was converted. Gwinear let his horse go free and began to live as a hermit. After King Clito’s death, the saint returned home, but not to assume the throne. Instead he took 770 men and women (including his converted sister Piala) to spread the Christian faith in Wales and Brittany. At first they landed at the mouth of the Hayle River.