Cadoc of Llancarvan BM
Died c. 580; feast day was January 24. Cadoc was the son of a robber, one of the lesser kings of Wales, who with an armed band of 300 men had stolen the daughter of a neighboring chieftain for his wife. In this ugly episode 200 of his followers perished, and out of this unpromising union was born Cadoc, the Welsh saint, founder of the monastery of Llancarvan.
It is hardly credible that form so wild and barbarous a background should have come such a gentle and enlightened prince, but fortunately his erratic and impulsive father placed him in the care of an Irish monk whose cow he had stolen and who had been bold enough to demand its return. From this good man Cadoc learned the rudiments of Latin, and after pursuing his studies in Ireland, preferred the life of a priest to that of a prince.
Legends are told of how one day in his poverty, during a famine, when he sat with his books in his cell, a white mouse ran suddenly on to the table from a hole in the wall and put down a grain of corn. Cadoc followed it and found in the cellar beneath him an old Celtic subterranean granary stacked with grain. It is also said that once he hid himself in a wood from an armed swineherd of an enemy tribe, and there came a wild boar, white with age, who, disturbed by his presence, made three fierce bounds in his direction and then disappeared. Cadoc marked the spot with three tree branches, and it became the site of his great church and abbey of Llancarvan. He himself took an active part in its building, and it became a busy center of industry, "The best of patriots," he said, "is he who tills the soil."
When, on one occasion, a band of robbers came to pillage the monastery, Cadoc and his monks went out to meet them with their harps, chanting as they went, and the marauders were so surprised by their attitude and so enchanted by the music that they withdrew.
But the best story is that of his parents' conversion. It was a happy day when by the river they made public profession of their faith. The robber king had found his Savior, and father and son together recited the Psalm: "The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble."
Cadoc later took refuge from the Anglo-Saxons in the Isle of Flatholmes, and then in Brittany, where he established another monastery upon a small island to which he built a stone bridge so that the children could cross to his school. Finally he returned to Britain and, obeying his own maxim: "Would you find glory? March to the grave," deliberately cut himself off from the shelter of his own monastery of Llancarvan, and lived among the Saxon settlements to console the native Christians who had survived the massacres of the pagan invaders. This was at Weedon in Northamptonshire, and there he met with a martyr's death. While celebrating Mass one day, the service was rudely disturbed by Saxon horsemen, and Cadoc was slain as he served at the altar (Gill).
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