Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Meen, Abbot in Brittany

Article

[In Latin Mevenus, also Melanus] His eminent virtues, his wonderful miracles, his monastery and his tomb famous for the devotion of the pilgrims who visit it, have rendered his name most illustrious among the saints in that country. In the legend of his life he is usually called Conard-Meen. He was born of a rich and noble family in the province of Gwent in South Wales, and is said to have been related by the mother to Saint Magloire and Saint Samson: he was at least a disciple of the latter, whom he accompanied into Brittany in France, and was employed by him in preaching to the people, of which commission he acquitted himself with admirable zeal and success. A certain count named Caduon having bestowed on him lands on each side of the river Meu, in order to found there a monastery, and Guerech I, count of Vannes, having also declared himself the protector of this religious undertaking, to which he became a munificent benefactor; Saint Samson appointed Saint Meen about the year 550. This was the origin of the abbey of Saint John Baptist of Gaël, now called Saint Meen’s, in the diocess of Saint Malo, about nine leagues from Rennes. Such was the reputation of the sanctity of this holy abbot, and of the regularity of this house, that when Judicael, king of Domnone, renounced the world in the twenty-second year of his age, Saint Meen had the honour of giving the monastic habit to his sovereign, probably about the year 616. The saint founded another monastery near the Loire, not far from Angers, which he peopled from that of Gaël, and which he often visited. Great numbers were moved by his example and exhortations to shun the troubled ocean of the world, covered with shipwrecks, by flying out of it, that they might steer a more secure course, and convey the goods they got in their voyage safe into port. Saint Meen died at Gaël about the year 617. His tomb is frequented by crowds, and many wonderful cures are there wrought, especially of the itch and scab, and other like cutaneous distempers, to which a mineral well, which bears the name of this saint, and in which the patients bathe, seems greatly to contribute. His relics in the wars of the Normans were conveyed to the great abbey of Saint Florent, a quarter of a league from Saumur; though a part remains at Saint Meen’s. This abbey of Saint Meen was converted into a seminary, and given to the Lazarists or priests of the mission in 1640. Saint Meen is invoked in the English Litany of the seventh century, and in the old Missal used in England before the Conquest. The Calendars of the chief diocesses of Brittany prescribe his festival to be kept with great solemnity on the 21st of June.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Meen, Abbot in Brittany”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. Saints.SQPN.com. 25 June 2013. Web. 17 September 2014. <>