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Saint of the Day: St. Illtud

Pioneer Saint of Wales

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Abbot (Fifth Century)

His life

+ Illtud (who is also known as Eltut and Hildutud) was born along the border between England and Wales. As a young man, he studied in Saint Germaine of Auxerre in France.

+ A gifted scholar, he was well-versed in both the Old and New Testaments, philosophy, geometry, rhetoric, grammar, and arithmetic.

+ He gave up the religious upbringing of his youth and became a soldier and married a woman named Trynihid. Later, Illtud experienced a conversion—some sources say because of the earth opened up and swallowed many of his companions—and he became a hermit.

+ While there are many legends surrounding Saint Illtud, it is certain that he helped to establish the monastic life in Wales and was an important early Briton saint. He would go on to establish a monastery at Llantwit Major, helping establish the first monastic school in Wales and the center for Celtic Christianity in that region.

+ Among those who are considered to have been students of Saint Illtud are Saint Patrick and Saint David of Wales.

For prayer and reflection

The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom; / his tongue speaks what is right.

God’s teaching is in his heart; / his steps do not falter.—Psalm 37:30-31

Prayer

Grant us, O Lord, that amid the uncertainties of this world we may cling with all our heart to the things of heaven, for through the Abbot blessed Illtud you have given us a model of evangelical perfection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For an Abbot)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

Access our archives of daily saint biographies here
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