April 7 – St. Brenach

April 4, 2022

St. Brenach. Photo by Wolfgang Sauber.

An Irish missionary in Wales, a contemporary of St. Patrick, and among the earliest of the Irish saints who laboured among the Celts of that country. About the year 418 he travelled to Rome and Brittany, and thence to Milford Haven. He erected various oratories near the rivers Cleddau, Gwain, and Caman, and at the foot of Carn Engyli, or “Mountain of the Angels”, which was his most famous foundation. Among his converts was Brecan (an Irish chief), the ruler of South Wales, about the year 425, and this Brecan is reckoned by the “Triads” as a saint, who founded numerous churches in Brecknockshire, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Denbighshire, and Angelesey. From the Welsh “Lives” we learn that St. Brenach died 7 April, on which day his feast is celebrated. His church, overhanging the Severn, is a lasting memorial of the Irish pilgrim who was the instrument under God for the conversion of a great part of Wales.

REES, Lives of the Cambro-British Saints (Llandovery, 1853); Id., Essay on the Welsh Saints (1836); WILLIAMS, Ecclesiastical Antiquities of the Cymry; Id., The Welsh Triads; MORAN, Irish Saints in Great Britain (1903), new edition; FENTON, Pembrokeshire; Acta SS., I, April; Martyrologium Anglicanum; O’HANLON, Lives of the Irish Saints, IV, 7 April.

W. H. Grattan-Flood (Catholic Encyclical)

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