St. Melangell the Abbess of Wales (+641) - Commemorated May 27 / January 31
Saint Melangell was born of royal Welsh lineage and was thus expected to marry. Yearning for the life of prayer and solitude, Melangell renounced her royal status and fled for Ireland in around 590AD and settled in an isolated area where she would sleep on bare rock with a cave as her cell. She remained hidden her for almost fifteen years. One day, as the Welsh Prince Brochfael Ysgithrog was hunting in the area, his hounds found a hare which they pursued with the intent of killing it. The hare ran through a bush and the Prince followed it. He then unexpectedly found the Hermitess Melangell in such deep prayer that she remained undistracted by the commotion happening around her. The breathless hare had found refuge in the folds of Melangell’s garment. When the Prince’s ordered his hounds to snatch the hare, the hounds dared not approach the Saint. Now aware of what was happening, Melangell calmly, but boldly, drove the dogs back. The Prince had never seen such a thing before and was in utter amazement. He cautiously approached the hermitess and asked to hear her life story. Deeply moved by the Saint, the Prince marvelled at Melangell’s beauty, purity, and love for God. Nevertheless, he suggested that she leave her solitude and marry him. She gently but adamantly refused, and the Prince was so impressed with her sanctity and determination that he donated a parcel of land on which she would found her monastery. This monastery became a refuge not only for animals, but for all people who came to Melangell to be comforted by her words. Saint Melangell lived for almost forty years in her monastery guiding and counselling all who came to her. During her life, no animal was ever killed on her land, and for centuries after, those who live in the area do not dare to hurt any hares as they are regarded to be protected by the Saint. Saint Melangell is considered the Patron Saint of hares and other small animals and performs miralces for those who come to her with faith. May she intercede for us always!
More can be read of St. Melangell here: