Saints of the Day – Wendelin of Tholey, Confessor

Saint WendelinArticle

(also known as Wendolinus, Wendel)

Died c.607. Saint Wendelin’s identity was nearly lost, although there were 17 towns in the U.S. in 1957 named after him. He was an Irish shepherd who became famous for his sanctity, when settled along the Rhein following a pilgrimage to Rome and began to evangelize the region. A later legend makes him an Irish hermit, whose cell became the Benedictine abbey of Tholey in the diocese of Trèves (Trier), Germany. Or, is it a legend? The Diocese of Trier records that he was an Irish saint.

It is said that so many miracles occurred at his death that a church was built on the spot along the Nahe River to house his relics. In 1320, Archbishop Baldwin of Trier credited Wendelin’s intercession with halting a plague. He rebuilt the saint’s chapel. A little later the town of Saint Wendel, where he is still venerated, was established there by a 14th-century holy Roman emperor. Now a thriving Society of the Divine Word Mission House of Saint Wendell trains missionaries for work throughout the world.

The church still survives. The 1370 stone sarcophagus, which was first used as a table to hold the wooden shrine, and a representation of the saint from c.1300 remain, as well as the second oldest stone pulpit in Germany (Benedictines, D’Arcy, Fitzpatrick, Kenney, Montague).

In art, his emblem is sheep, a dog, and a club. Sometimes there is a staff, pouch, cup, and dog at his feet, at other times a long staff and a calf at his feet. He is the patron of shepherds and peasants. He is invoked on behalf of sick cattle (Roeder). The 14th-century image of Wendelin depicts him as an Irish monk with a staff and Gospel, rather than as a shepherd (D’Arcy).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 August 2020. Web. 6 December 2020. <>