Posted by: anna | June 27, 2011

St. Dogmael

Today (14 June) we commemorate St. Dogmael or Dogfael (5th C), for whom celt-saints provides a useful summary of cross-references: ‘St. Dogmael, Hermit of Pembroke, Wales (also known as Docmael, Dogfael, Dogmeel, Dogwel, Toel). Early 6th century. A Welsh monk of the house of Cunedda, Dogmael founded several cells in Pembrokeshire, Brittany, and Anglesey. Under the name Toel, he is titular saint of a church in Trequier in Brittany, and is probably identical to Dogmeel who has a considerable cultus in Brittany, where he is invoked to help children to learn to walk (Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).’ He is also listed in Baring-Gould & Fisher, vol 2. His ODNB entry says categorically, ‘there is no Life of Dogfael,’ but from the bare outline of several churches left bearing his name we can get the idea of yet another of these tremendously energetic Welshmen who, while trying to lead an eremitic life, found that many were drawn to God through his example, though not to the same way of life. They simply were not able to withdraw from the world as they intended – it came to their doors, and many of them travelled widely to spread the Gospel. So many ways to become a saint; sometimes several in one lifetime! A life lived close to God is inevitably attractive – even if the person himself may not have been…

– St Dogmael’s Abbey entry from Monastic Wales, partly as an introduction to that site, which is full of information and juicy links (not of the sausage kind)

– And another brilliant resource for saints’ lives, Vladimir Moss’ Lives of the British Saints, online! I was aware of the existence of this book but not that it has been made freely available in full online. Plus about a bazillion other full books and articles, including numerous lives of Russian and eastern European saints from orthodoxchristianbooks. This is so very generous of the author.

– I had never heard of the Tironian or Tironensian order, under which St Dogmael’s Abbey was founded in the early 12th century, on the site of St Dogmael’s church – a pre-Cistercian Benedictine reforming order.

Holy Father Dogfael, pray to God for us.

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