Patron of Dublin & Glendalough Ireland • Naturalists • Crows
Feast Day: June 3
Born c. 498 at the Fort of White Fountain, Leinster, Ireland, Kevin is also known as Caoimhghin, Coemgen, Coemgenus, Comegen, Keivin, Kevin of Glen da Locha (Glendalough).
The name means fair-begotten; of gentle birth.
His mother, Caemell (or Coenhella), was said to have had no labor pains and was attended by 12 angels with golden lamps who gave him his name. The entire family was pious, with several saints among them. Kevin’s father was said to have given up his inheritance in order to live a more honest, simple life. While they resided in Leinster no frost or snow ever appeared and there was always enough grass for the cattle to graze upon. A white cow came to their door every
morning to give milk.
Kevin left home at about age seven to study at the monastery of Kilnamanagh, County Dublin. After his ordination, he chose to lead a solitary life in the Wicklow Mountains at Glendalough.
He lived in a cave and ate what food he could gather, sleeping on a stone slab with a rock for a pillow. Eventually word of his holiness spread and Kevin had to give up his solitude in order to accommodate the many people who wanted to join him. He established a monastery at Glendalough, which became a principle pilgrimage site.
Kevin seemed have a special relationship with nature and animals. He often stood in the cold lake, praying in the traditional way with his arms outstretched, and reciting psalms. An otter would bring him enough salmon to feed the community and once retrieved his psalter which had fallen in the water. The book was miraculously undamaged.
Another time, a crow flew by and laid an egg in his hand. He held it there until it hatched. Yet another time a wild boar ran to him for protection and when the hunting dogs saw it with Kevin, they lay at his feet.
He cured the pagan King O’Tool’s elderly pet goose, enabling it to fly again. As a reward the king gave him all the land the goose flew over, which he used to found the monastery of Glendalough.
There, a young student suffering from epilepsy received a vision that he would be cured by eating an apple. It was out of season, so Kevin asked a willow to produce apples and 20 yellow apples appeared on the tree.
In his humility, even though he was an abbot, Kevin chose to remain a priest, rather than become a bishop. It is thought that he was over 120 years old when he died in about 618, on June 3. Glendalough remains a place of pilgrimage, with many miracles attributed to St. Kevin.
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