Saint Kevin of Glendalough

This week’s Saint of the Week is Saint Kevin of Glendalough, Ireland. Born in the year 489, he was baptized by Saint Cronan of Roscrea, educated by Saint's Petroc of Cornwall and Eonagh, and friends with Saint Comgall, Saint Columba, Saint Cannich, and Saint Kieran of Clonmacnois.

As we have seen with many of our previously featured Saints of the Week, close association with a Holy Saint seems to greatly increase your odds of becoming one yourself!  Saint Kevin proved that maxim to be true and followed a path of many of our early Saints, by embarking on the life of a hermit for many years in a cave near Glendalough, living in harmony with nature and sustaining himself on a meager diet of local herbs.  Legend has it that Saint Kevin was led to the cave by an Angel and it is known today as Saint Kevin’s Bed.  Like many holy men seeking the hermetic life, word got around and people started seeking them out for spiritual direction, which led to attracting disciples, and so it went with Saint Kevin. Also, like many early hermit Saints, including the father of them all, Saint Anthony the Great, Saint Kevin was called upon to found a monastery at Glendalough, and teach the monastic life to his followers, including yet another Saint, Saint Moling.  

As was the case with many hermits who founded monastic communities, it wasn’t long before Saint Kevin, rumored to prefer the company of animals to people, longed to return to a life of solitude and prayer.  He left the monastery he founded in good hands and headed back to his cave.  A few years later, he was convinced to come back and re-assume the role of Abbot, a position he held until his death in the year 618, at the ripe old age of 120! Saint Kevin was held in such high esteem that the Irish King Colman of Ui Faelain asked him to raise his very own son.  He was canonized by Pope Pius X, on December 9th, 1903.

Saint Kevin’s legend includes many miraculous encounters with animals, including the one for which he is best known today.  One season during Lent, while he was engrossed in prayer with outstretched arms, a blackbird made a nest in one of his hands.  A lover of animals, legend holds Saint Kevin kept his arm raised in place until the baby birds hatched! 

In time, Glendalough became one of the chief pilgrimage destinations in Ireland, and is home to God’s Cottage, one of my favorite Catholic YouTube channels hosted by Father Thaddy Doyle.  You can learn more about the historic Saint Kevin in this video by Father Doyle, in authentic Irish brogue, what could be better than that?!!!...

Patron Saint of: Blackbirds, The Diocese of Dublin, Ireland, Glendalough, Ireland and Ireland.

Feast Day: June 3rd, (the Anniversary of my marriage to my lovely bride Debbie!)

Saint Kevin, you were privileged to live in the Age of Saints, O Father Kevin being baptized by one saint, taught by another and buried by a third. We celebrate your saintly and holy life. You lived a life filled with a wonderful reverence and awe of all living things.  Let us imitate the respect and appreciation you showed toward life in all its forms, and to see the presence of God in all his Creations.  Pray to God that He will raise up saints in our day to help, support and guide us into the Way of salvation. Amen

Saint Kevin of Glendalough, pray for us! 

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  1. Enjoyed this post about a saint new to me. Who is the Aaron referred to in the comic? Thanks so much.

  2. Thanks much for the question! Aaron is the brother of Moses, who helped him keep his arms raised and staff lifted in order to defeat the Amalekites in Exodus 17.