Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Felan, or Foelan, Abbot in Ireland

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His name is famous in the ancient Scottish and Irish Calendars. The example and instructions of his pious parents, Feriach and Saint Kentigerna, inspired him from the cradle with the most ardent love of virtue. In his youth, despising the flattering worldly advantages to which high birth and a great fortune entitled him, he received the monastic habit from a holy abbot named Mundus, and passed many years in a cell at some distance from the monastery, not far from Saint Andrew’s. He was by compulsion drawn from this close solitude, being chosen abbot. His sanctity in this public station shone forth with a bright light. After some years, he resigned this charge, and retired to his uncle Congan, brother to his mother, in a place called Siracht, a mountainous part of Glendarchy, now in Fifeshire, where, with the assistance of seven others, he built a church, near which he served God for several years. God glorified him by a wonderful gift of miracles, and called him to the reward of his labours on the 9th of January, in the seventh century. He was buried in Straphilline, and his relics were long preserved there with honour. This account is given us of him in the lessons of the Aberdeen breviary. The Scottish historians attribute to the intercession of Saint Felan a memorable victory obtained by king Robert Bruce, in 1314, over a numerous army of English, at Bannocburn, not far from Sterling, in the reign of Edward II of England, who narrowly escaped, being obliged to pass the Tweed in a boat with one only companion.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 8 January 2013. Web. 20 September 2014. <>