Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict – Saint Fechin, Abbot

illustration of Saint Fechin, Abbot, from the book 'Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict', designed by Father Amandus LiebhaberMany prodigies happened at the birth of this Saint. The town in which he was born was illuminated on the day of his birth by a supernatural light, while globes of fire were seen moving about over the roofs of the houses, and the inhabitants, alarmed, were rushing about with water, thinking that the place was on fire. But this extraordinary light was only a portent sent to predict how great should be the new light that had come into the world. Saint Fechin entered the Monastery of Foure, in Ireland, 1 for his education, and his innocence and simplicity made him deaf to all evil influences, and to the temptations of youth. No one observed the rules more strictly, or was more vigilant and modest than he. Even while yet a boy he began to work miracles. When there was a dearth of water at Foure he was sent round the neighbourhood to search for wells, but could find no water, and the community and the servants were nearly dying with thirst. The Saint then prayed to the Lord, and when his prayer was ended, suddenly a fountain of water sprang forth from a mound of earth close by, and Saint Fechin gladly filled the vessel he was carrying and took the water to relieve the thirst of his companions. The virtue of the Saint became so renowned amongst the simple people that they would send for him to help them in any trouble about their fields or their cattle. Once at his word a drove of horses, belonging to a prince, died because they had been maliciously driven into a field of standing corn which belonged to the Monastery. Only one remained alive, and its life was spared at the earnest entreaties of the man in charge of them. So highly was Saint Fechin thought of, on account of his virtue and the many miracles which he wrought, that when a vacancy occurred he was made an Abbot, and after his appointment the community of the Monastery of Foure numbered three hundred souls, who were led by him to serve God, and to despise the things of the world. The Saint continued to work innumerable miracles. Like another Eliseus he caused the iron tools of some labourers to swim, so that he could restore them to their owners out of the water into which they had fallen; and he also, by his prayers, restored the life of the Queen.

It pleased God at last to afflict Saint Fechin with a pestilence, which was prevalent at that time. He was removed for fear of infection to a shed, where he patiently and cheerfully waited for his death, which took place on January 20th, in the year of our Lord 664.

– text and illustration taken from Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict by Father Aegedius Ranbeck, O.S.B.