St. Malo, Bishop
(Maclovius, Maclou, Mahou or wrongly Machutus)

15 November

Born in England or southwest Wales; died on November 15, 621; feast of his translation is July 11. Saint Malo is said to have been cousin to Saints Samson (f.d. July 28) and Maglorius (f.d. October 24). While he was still a youth, Malo was sent to Ireland for his education in virtue and the humanities, and may have been a disciple of Saint Brendan (f.d. May 16). After his priestly ordination, Malo was elected to a bishopric but declined the dignity, retiring to Brittany to become its apostle.

The port of Saint-Malo takes its name from this Malo, who ministered and made foundations from the islet in the estuary of the Rance or from the neighbouring Aleth (Saint-Servan) in Brittany. About 541, Malo was consecrated bishop of Aleth. He is said to have been driven from his see by his enemies and to have settled at Saintes, but he was later recalled by a deputation of his people. He died at Archingeay near Saintes before he could return to Aleth.

The feast of Saint Malo was celebrated in England, especially in southern monasteries and in the Sarum calendar, as well as in Brittany. Farmer claims that his cultus was encouraged by the bishops of Winchester because the Latin word for Gwent closely resembles that for Wincester. For this reason his relics were claimed by Bath and other churches; however, the majority were translated from Saintes and Aleth to Saint-Malo in Brittany (Attwater, Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).

A early "vita,", now lost, provided the basis for two others in the 9th century. These later biographies depict a rugged man of truth, who sang psalms in a loud voice as he travelled throughout the countryside on horseback. Often he found himself "shaking the dust from his feet" after making enemies, as well as friends, in a district.

The life of Saint Malo, written five centuries after his death by a quiet scholar named Sigebert of Gembloux, includes this story of Saint Malo and the Wren.

"And another miracle he wrought like to this, worthy of record for its compassion alone. He was a follower of Paul the Apostle, whose own hands supplied his wants if aught were lacking; and when he had leisure from his task of preaching the Gospel, he kept himself by the work of his hands. One day he was busy with the brethren in the vineyard, pruning the vines, and for better speed in his work took off his cloak and laid it out of sight. When his work was done and he came to take his cloak, he found that he small bird whom common folk call a wren had laid an egg on it. And knowing that God's care is not far from the birds, since not one of them falls on the ground without the Father, he let his cloak lie there, till the eggs were hatched and the wren brought out her brood. And this was the marvel, that all the time that cloak lay there, there fall no rain upon it. And whoever came to hear of it, they glorified the power of God, and they praised God's own pity in man" (Sigebert).

St. Malo and the Sow:

At one time when he was going up and down through Brittany to sow the seed of the divine word in the field of the husbandry of God, he came upon a swineherd in a meadow, twisted with bitter grief. He had been herding a drove of pigs, and a greedy unmannerly sow among them was destroying a field of standing corn, and he, trying to save his neighbour's crop, had thrown an ill-directed stone at her and killed her. And now he was in dread of his lord's wrath on his offence, and what he knew would put a keener edge upon it was the seven piglings trotting about, trying to draw milk as of old from their dead mother's dugs, and able to find no stay for their own lives from that lifeless body.

St. Malo, whose heart had room only for compassion, could not watch the swineherd's tears without tears himself: and pouring out a prayer to God, he laid his staff on the ear of the dead sow, and raising her up by that sole touch, he brought back joy to the mourner.

The swineherd told the story to his master, and had the praises of the servant of God in every man's mouth. And the master, mounting his horse, came to give his thanks to the saint, face to face, and offered one of his farms to the church, for the use, under him, of the servants of God.

Taken from: Helen Waddell: "Beasts and Saints" Introduced and Edited by Esther de Waal. 1996: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, USA.

Troparion of St Malo
Tone 1
Thy life, O Father Malo,
was resplendent with many virtues. As thou wast unwavering in thy faith to thy last breath, O Saint,
pray that we may emulate thy virtues and thereby be found worthy of eternal salvation

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