Home  »  Volume X: October  »  St. Foillan, Martyr

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

October 31

St. Foillan, Martyr

ST. ULTAN, St. Fursey, and St. Foillan, were three brothers, sons of Fyltan, king of Munster in Ireland. Fursey embraced a monastic life in the islands, and, after some years, returning home, persuaded Ultan, who was the eldest brother, and Foillon also, to renounce the world. St. Fursey having travelled into England, and built the monastery of Knobersburg in the kingdom of the East-Angles, invited Foillan thither from Ireland, and left him abbot of that house. After the death of St. Fursey, which happened at Peronne about the year 650, SS. Ultan and Foillan went into France. Some authors say St. Foillan travelled to Rome, and was made regionary bishop. If this be true, at least he soon returned to St. Ultan, and they went both together from Cambray to Nivelle in Brabant, where St. Gertrude governed a great nunnery, which her parents, B. Pepin of Landen, and B. Ita, had founded, with a neighbouring monastery of men. They both staid here some time, till St. Gertrude, after the death of her mother, in 652, gave to St. Ultan a territory to build an hospital and monastery, which is called Fosse, situate between the Meuse and the Sambre, in the diocess of Maestricht, now of Liege. St. Gertrude detained St. Foillan at Nivelle, where he instructed the nuns, and preached to the people in the country. He was going to pay a visit to his brother St. Ultan at Fosse in 655, when he and three companions were assassinated by robbers, or infidels, in the forest of Sonec, now Charbonniere, in Hainault, on the 31st of October. His relics are kept with veneration in the church of Fosse, formerly served by monks, now by secular canons. St. Ultan governed the monasteries of Fosse and Mont-Saint-Quentin many years, and died on the 1st of May, towards the year 686. See Bede, Hist. l. 3, c. 19, and his ancient life published by Dom Menard, Addit. ad. Martyr. Benedict. p. 900. Le Cointe, ad an. 654, 656, et 686. Molanus, Miræus, and Usher, Antiqu. Brit.