St. Gwen Teirbron

I’ve talked about her on the blog before, but here are a couple of nice French Wikipedia articles with pictures of statues.

Sainte Gwenn – very bright painted statues on this page! The iconography of her nursing her triplets is nice.

Here’s a much older and more beautiful painted statue of Gwen and the triplets at the Chapel of Sainte-Venec (Guethenoc) (who was one of her triplets). There’s also a fairly ugly copy shown, that’s from the monastery museum in Landevennec.

She had five kids in all. Her son from her first husband was the famous St. Cadfan, ex-warrior and famous missionary in Wales. The triplets and her daughter were from her second marriage.

This other statue at the chapel, of a saint in armor with a book, is usually described as a statue of St. Guethenoc. However, Sabine Baring-Gould pointed out in The Lives of the British Saints, Volume II that Guethenoc was a monk who never had a warrior career, whereas legend called St. Cadfan a warrior before he became a missionary priest, and this made him a patron saint of warriors in Wales. Darned nice statue, either way.

Cadfan was part of a rather large, high-status, and popular family of saints who apparently fled political problems in Brittany by traveling to various parts of England and Wales, where they quickly got involved with preaching, building churches and monasteries, and doing good. Later on, many of them went back to Brittany while others stayed in Wales.

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2 responses to “St. Gwen Teirbron

  1. Cadfan– inspiriation for the famous detective, Brother Cadfael?

    • Hmm. Could be. Although of course lots of real life guys went from warrior to monk, Cadfan is one of the big famous Welsh saints. “Cadfan’s Way” is kind of a tourist attraction in some parts of Wales.

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