St. Malo, Bishop
(Maclovius, Maclou, Mahou or wrongly Machutus)
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)
Maglorius (f.d. October 24).
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
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"
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
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
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
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
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