Concept

Saint Fiacre

Summary
Saint Fiacre (Fiachra, Fiacrius) is the name of three different Irish saints, the most famous of which is Saint Fiacre of Breuil (c. AD 600 – 18 August 670), the Catholic priest, abbot, hermit, and gardener of the seventh century who was famous for his sanctity and skill in curing infirmities. He emigrated from his native Ireland to France, where he constructed for himself a hermitage together with a vegetable and herb garden, oratory, and hospice for travellers. He is the patron saint of gardeners. Fiachra is an ancient pre-Christian, Irish name. It has been interpreted to denote "battle king" or to derive from fiach ("raven"). The name is found in ancient Irish folklore and stories such as the Children of Lir. The appellation "of Breuil" can in present times be misleading: the site of the hermitage, garden, oratory, and hospice of Saint Fiacre was in the place denominated "Brogillum" in ancient times and later renamed "Breuil", forming his epithet. However, Breuil was then again renamed "Saint-Fiacre" in his honor, which is the name of the present commune on the same site, in the Department of Seine-et-Marne, France. The commune of Breuil, Department of Marne, France is located far from and is not the same as the commune of Saint-Fiacre (formerly named "Breuil"), although the two communes probably were both in the ancient French Province of Brie, which adds to the confusion. "Though not mentioned in the earlier Irish calendars, Fiacre was born in Ireland at the end of the sixth century AD. He was raised in a monastery where he became a monk and imbibed knowledge of herbal medicine." Fiacre was ordained a Catholic priest at some point, and elevated to the rank of abbot. "In time he had his own hermitage and perhaps a monastery, possibly near St. Fiachra’s Well at Cill Fiachra (Kilferagh), Sheastown, in the barony of Shillelogher near Bennetsbridge, County Kilkenny, Ireland. As crowds flocked to him because of his reputation for his holiness and cures, he sailed to France in search of greater solitude.
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