A Garner of Saints – Saint Bavon

detail of a painting of Saint Bavo of Ghent, Hieronymous Bosch, right outer wing of the Last Judgement triptych, grisaille on panel, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna, Austria, latter 15th century; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Patron saint of Ghent; born of a noble family; his youth was somewhat wild, but after the loss of his wife he became converted by a sermon of Saint Amand, bishop of Maestricht, threw himself at the feet of the holy man and with tears confessed his sins. On returning to his house he distributed his wealth to the poor, and then received the tonsure from Saint Amand. Retiring first to the monastery of Saint Pierre at Ghent he took up the life of a hermit, and lived for some time in the trunk of a hollow tree, until he had made a cell for himself in the forest of Malmedun, near Ghent, where he lived on wild herbs and water. Saint Herbert the abbot of Saint Pierre, permitted him to live as a recluse in a new cell which he constructed near the monastery, and there he ended his days, communicating with no one but God alone. The monks of Saint Pierre were present at his death, which took place in 657. Sixty noblemen, converted by his example, became penitents and built the church in his honour at Ghent. Among the miracles attributed to him is the restoration of a nobleman’s slave who was possessed, and the healing of the legs of a peasant, broken by his chariot; the peasant was employed to bring the materials for the construction of the saint’s cell, and though he had freely mocked at the holy man, Saint Bavon interceded for him. 1st October.

Attributes

  • Usually dressed as a prince in armour with a falcon on the left hand in sign of his rank.
  • hermit in a hollow tree
  • sometimes also he carries a heavy stone in his arms which served him as a pillow in his cell.

MLA Citation

  • Allen Banks Hinds, M.A. “Saint Bavon”. A Garner of Saints, 1900. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 April 2017. Web. 24 November 2017. <>