Lives to Inspire: Kevin of Glendalough

St Kevin was born of noble parents in Leinster, Ireland and schooled in the monastic tradition. Attracted by solitude, he discovered the remote Glendalough. After being ordained, he founded a monastery there in the valley where two rivers meet. Once founded, he entrusted it to the monks and returned to the upper valley to live as a hermit.

Kevin exemplified the Celtic Christian sense of interconnectedness with nature. He walked barefoot, dressed in animal skins, fasted and spent his time in prayer. His holiness attracted disciples and people seeking his help and guidance.

Many miracles and stories are attributed to Kevin and his love of nature.
The most famous story, beautifully told in the Seamus Healey poem “St Kevin and the Blackbird,” tells of how he was deep in prayer with arms outstretched and a blackbird nested in his hand. He stayed in that position until the chicks fledged, so becoming patron saint of blackbirds.

Book about Glendalough and Saint Kevin

Saint Kevin of Glendalough

Name: Kevin

c498: Born at the fort of the white Fountain, Leinster.

540: Famed as teacher and holy man

544: Visited Sts, Columba, Comgall and Cannich in Co. Westmeath

618: died


“The branches and leaves of the trees sometimes sang sweet songs to him, and heavenly music alleviated the severity of his life.”

From an early biography of Kevin

Today’s Scripture

Job 12: New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised

‘But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of every human being.

Thought for the Day

Today spend some time contemplating nature.
Hold a living thing in your hands and see how it speaks to you of God.