The Life of Saint Cado

Here is the text of Albert the Great in The Lives of the Saints of the Brittany Armorique concerning the Life of Saint Cado.

Life of Saint Cado

Saint Cado was a native of Great Britain & was the son of a Prince, who reigned in a canton of the said Isle, which was called Guillenus, descended from the race of the Great Constantine, & his mother was called Gudalusa, daughter of Brahanus, Roy from part of Ireland. He died around the year 522. under Pope Saint Hormisda, Emperor Justin I, & King of Brittany Armorique Hoel II, of this name. His parents were warned by a holy Hermit, named Menechesias, to have him baptized; what they did, that they themselves were peasant and idolatrous. Being old enough to ride a horse, his father having declared war on another Prince, his neighbor, wanted to give the leadership of his army to Prince Cado, who, wishing to fight under the flag of the Cross of Jesus Christ, went out in dress disguised, from his father's palace, & by paths aside, withdrew into a desert, where he submitted to the direction & obedience of a Saint Hermite & remained twelve years in his company, living on bread & water & of some vegetables, with a rare example of Holiness.

II. One day, the Hermit, his master, sent him to fetch a fire from some shepherds who retired to a cave near the Hermitage, who, laughing at him, did not want to give him any, until he promised to to carry it within it, to its Hermitage; Saint Cado consented to it; &, having said his prayer, he took great coals, & put them in his bosom & carried them to his master, without his coat or his skin being offended. ; what these pastors having seen, they asked him for forgiveness, and his master began now to regard him, no longer as his disciple, but as a great friend & servant of God. The master pastor of the flocks of a great Lord, named Polentus, neighbor of the Hermitage of Saint Cado, quarreled him once, and wanted to pierce him with his Lance; but God punished him on the spot, for he became blind & crippled in his arms, &, having repented of his fault & having asked the Saint for forgiveness, he was healed by his prayers; what the Prince Polentus having heard, he gave the Saint a piece of land, called Sober, to build a monastery there, which he did in a short time; & one of the workers who worked in the building having been killed by his companions & thrown into a pond, the Saint by his prayer, made a parish! he dead body on the surface of the water & resuscitated it.

III. Having populated his monastery with Sober, he went on a trip to S. André in Escosse, where he resuscitated a dead man, & made great conversions by his fervent Preachers, then crossed the sea, crossed Armoric Brittany, & found S. Goüard & S. Liliau in Aquitaine , & from there embarked in Marseilles to go to Palestine, where he visited, with great devotion, the SS. Places, & then returned to Rome, where he kissed the feet of Pope S. John III. of the name, & thence returned to his Monastery in the year 562, having spent seven years in his travels. It was customary to retire from Caresme, to an island in the sea, named Enes Barren, to be more solitary there & away from the conversation of men, &, at Pasques, he returned to his Monastery, to solemnize the Feste in the company of his Religious, who are in increasing number, he founded another Monastery , more ample & spacious, & called it Land-Carvanan, that is to say, Eglise des Cerfs, because he used deer from the next forest, to cart stones & other materials necessary for the building of said Monastery, making these animals as familiar, deprived & domesticated, that if they had been horses, and drawing no less service.

IV. He was Abbot of this new Monastery for two years, until the year 564, that having chosen a small number of his Religious, he crossed the sea & came to anchor at the coast of Brittany-Armorique, in Vennes , & got used to a small island, which we now call Enes-Cadvod, in the Parish of Belz, which isle was filled with serpents; but the Saint purged it by his prayers, and we hold that, since, it is not there. He built a small monastery there; &, seeing that the people of the surrounding country came to visit him there, he built a beautiful bridge over the arm of the sea which is between the said island and the mainland, joining the mouth of the river Estell, which having been demolished, was by it remade yet another time. He lived in this place, with a rare example of Holiness, until the year 567, that by command of God, he left Brittany, &, having traveled through France, crossed the mountains & arrived in Italy, where he stopped for some time in the town of Benevent, of which the Evesque died, he was elected for his Successor, &, at his coronation, was appointed Sophias.

V. Being raised to this Dignity, he carefully watched over his flock, which he governed until about the year five hundred and seventy, that one night, at the height of his Prayer, an Angel appeared to him & gave him the option of what kind of death he wanted to end his life; then the holy Prelate, lovingly casting his eyes on the image of the Crucifix, replied: "Since my Savior died for me on the Cross, I would like (if such was his Will) to have the honor of shedding my blood for him." "When the Angel left:" Rejoice, servant of God, especially as your desire will be fulfilled; tomorrow, you will pass from this miserable life to lasting glory & receive the Crown of Martyrdom. Having said that, the Angel disappeared. Saint Cado rose from his Prayer, recited the revelation he had had to some of his most familiar, prepared to say Mass, during which the city was surprised by an army of barbarians who, enraged in the Church, put everything to the edge of the sword & killed this holy Prelate at the Altar, having stabbed him with a lance through his body. The enemy having withdrawn, those who had escaped from the massacre gathered the holy Body, buried it in its Church, &, since, its Bones were raised from the ground & put in a Silver Hunt. God manifested the glory of this holy Prelate by an infinity of miracles, which were done, both in his Sepulcher, and in the places where he lived in two Britains, which have since been honored with some portion of his Relics which 'a Religious of his Monastery of Land-Carvanan brought there, notwithstanding the precautions that the Beneventines could take there, which, fearing to be deprived of this precious treasury, did not allow the entry of his Church to any Breton.


While that Saint Gildas lived in the austere and picturesque hermitage called in his history "the oratory of La Roche sur Blavet" he saw arrive and settle eight leagues from him a saint of the most famous of Great Britain, one of his most assiduous collaborators in his great Irish missions, the friend whose monastery had been, in the island of Brittany, his ordinary asylum and the principal seat of his teaching. It is indeed at Lancarvan Where Nant-Garban, where his friend was then abbot, that he had written the first part of his book By Excidio Britaniæ (the ruin of La Betagne).

This friend was Saint Cado, one of the most original figures of the British Church in the VIe century. The oldest Life we have of him, written five centuries later, is so disfigured that we can hardly recognize the main lines of his role and his physiognomy. One of his characteristic traits is his many travels; he travels all over the island of Brittany and Ireland, visits the Gaul, Italy and even Rome (according to his legend) there Greece and Jerusalem. He owed a visit to Armorica to his friend Gildas, who in Great Britain had presented him with a text from the Gospels written by his own hand and a beautiful soft-ringing bell, also cast by his hand, for Gildas was very good and very expert worker in metal art.

It was on his return from one of his trips to Italy that he landed in his islet in Morbihan; he landed with his disciples and said:

- With God's help and under your good pleasure, my brothers, this is where I want to stay.

- Master, whatever pleases you is acceptable to us.

And promptly they set up a small monastery there. What made this foundation notable was the church, an elegant stone construction and above all the bridge, also in stone, by which Cado unites the island to the mainland..
How long did he stay in this place where his memory has remained so alive? - No one can tell.

Did he still live there now? - Did he come back to stay on the continent?

- Here two opinions are present: according to the Latin legend, after having founded Lancarvan and several other monasteries in Great Britain, he went to Benevento in Italy, first fulfilled the abbey functions there, was then promoted to episcopal dignity and finally gathered there the palm of martyrdom. “But,” adds Dom Plaine, “all this has seemed so improbable for three centuries to most hagiographers that a number of them have come to suppose that it was the town of Benavenne (Benaventa now Woedon, in the county of Northampton) in England. Sometimes the saint was even dubbed by claiming that the founder of Lancarvan had nothing in common with the bishop-martyr of Benevento. The learned Benedictine demonstrates that it is impossible that the holy bishop was martyred in England, then he established, according to the traditions of the countries which knew Saint Cado: Cambria, Armorica, and Benevento, that "until the XVe century these three countries seem to have been unanimous in affirming: 1o that S. Cado-Sophius had for a father a king of Wales ; 2o that he had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times and that to Rome seven times; 3o that he had died in Benevento pierced with a lance while he was celebrating mass. However, such facts are clearly most characteristic. The second in particular belongs only to our saint, and alone would be sufficient to prevent it from being confused with another saint. We must therefore accept these traditional data as being the expression of historical truth.

But when and how does the holy bishop suffer martyrdom? — Dom Plaine regards it as certain that he received death when the king to nothing Totila "took Benevento by storm in November 542, razed its walls, and committed many excesses of all kinds, as is apparent from the lively reproaches addressed to him by Saint Benedict, when this barbarian king came to visit him during his stay at Benevento who is very close to Monte Cassino. »


Not of the most popular saint; no saint more neglected by the liturgy. the own de Vannes grants him a simple lesson and a commemoration; the own de Quimper does not even mention the holy martyr bishop, as venerated in Cornwall and Leon as in the land of Morbihan.

He is patron of Saint-Cadou (deanery of Sizun, diocese of Quimper);

From Saint-Cast (near Dinan, diocese of Saint-Brieuc).

Until the Concordat of 1801, he was patron of the parish of Cadélac, whose church, which became a chapel, in the parish of Loudéac, perished in a fire in 1803.

Dom Plaine says that perhaps the parish of Cast (deanery of Chateaulin, diocese of Quimper), was originally under the patronage of Saint Cado, but the name of Cast comes from the old Latin name of this locality: Castrum.

I know few chapels dedicated to Saint Cado. After naturally quoting Belz first, the former priorale church dependent on the abbey of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé, since Alain Fergent had given it to him in 1089, today a simple chapel, but still surrounded by veneration. ; dom Plaine still indicates the chapel of N.-D. de Clérin, in Saint-Clet (diocese of Saint-Brieuc); Saint Cado is only the second patron, but many pilgrims come there to recommend themselves to him for the cure of eye diseases. In Guégon (diocese of Vannes), a chapel of Saint Cado is mentioned by the archaeological directory of N. Rosenzsweig. Dom Plaine does not speak of the chapel of Saint-Cadou in Gouesnac'h; it is placed in a charming place, at the bottom of a cove formed by the Odet (Quimper river), a short distance from its mouth. Thirty years ago, this chapel had a paneling enriched with very curious paintings representing scenes from the life of Saint Cado. Under the pretext that forgiveness led to certain abuses, it was suppressed; the abandoned chapel was soon a ruin and one day the roof collapsed, dragging in its fall the paneling with its beautiful paintings. The chapel has been restored, forgiveness restored, and with it the struggles of young peasants; since they have reappeared, it was hardly worth the trouble of handing over the old chapel to destruction; it would have been enough to prevent the brave wrestlers of the beautiful country of Fouesnant from turning their honest amusements into scenes of savagery.

In Melgven (deanery of Bannalec, diocese of Quimper), the Chapel of Coatampodou dedicated to Saint Cado was up to the Concordat of 1801 from the parish of Cadol, which itself probably drew its name from the name of the martyred bishop. Another chapel in Moëlan.

We find statues of Saint Cado in the churches and chapels mentioned above, and in addition & Kerpert (XIe century), Saint-Michel-en-Grève, Plestin, Ploumiliau (diocese of Saint-Brieuc); Plouarnel-Quiberon (diocese of Vannes); in Landrévarzec, in the chapel of N.-D. by Quilinen (XVe or XVIe century), Plogonnec, parish church (statue from the same period); Redené, chapel of the castle of Rosgrand; church of Leuhan and a beautiful painting on the paneling of the church of Bodeo, finally, Dom Plaine quotes a last statue, but which no longer exists in the new church of Moëlan (diocese of Quimper).

A regrettable disappearance is that of the two wooden crosses, of Saint Cado, not long ago exhibited in the chapel of Rosgrand where I have seen them several times.

The name of Saint-Cadou was given to a cove located near Carnoet, on the Léta, Quimperlé river.


D'after the Barzaz-Breiz, this is what they sang while marching against the English:

Lord Saint Kadok, our patron, give us strength and courage, so that today we overcome the enemies of Brittany.
If we return from the fight, we will present to you a belt, and a gold coat, and a sword, and a cloak blue as the sky;
And everyone will say looking at you, ö blessed holy Lord Kadok: "In paradise as on earth, saint Kadok has no equal!" "

After quoting these stanzas, an expression of confidence, M. de la Villemarqué adds:

"Winners in this famous fight where Beaumanoir drank his blood, the knights bretons faithfully fulfilled their vow:
He would not have been the friend of the Bretons, the one who would not have uttered cries of joy on seeing our warriors return, broom flowers on their helmets;
He would not have been a friend of the Bretons nor of the saints of Brittany either, the one who had not blessed Saint Kadok, patron of the warriors of the country;
He who had not admired, who had not applauded, who had not blessed and who had not
point sung: "In paradise as on earth, Saint Kadok has no equal. "

From what I said above, we can see that the protector of the valiant knights of old is invoked today by the fighters of our pardons; one also asks of him, not only the rigor and the suppleness in the members, but the purity in the blood. V. r S.


Ithe There is still the bridge built by Saint Cado to join the land to the island he had chosen for residence in the Etel river. It is a hundred meters long, four wide, and has only two arches which astonish by their boldness and the dimensions of the enormous blocks of granite which compose them. The solidity must be foolproof since the administration of Ponts-et-Chausses has not sought noise and continues to pass the main road from Port-Louis to Belz and Auray over it.

The monastery in 1089 became dependent prior of Sainte-Croix de Quimperlé, by a donation of the duke Alain Iron. The current chapel dates back almost entirely to the 11the century, dividing into three naves three bays with semicircular apse. The semicircular arcades rest on square pillars with simple cutters, the triumphal arch falls on engaged columns with capitals garnished with foliage and interlacing.

On the walls of the nave are hung four paintings representing scenes from the life of the saint, and which are especially precious by the legends which explain the topics:

English by birth, Prince of Clamorgant,
Then Abbot, comes, disembarks and resides here.

The judgments of God ceaselessly meditating,
This is how he, pilgrims, lived here.

To the evil pirates in this place attacking him
He said: I am without good, lonely here.

Oratory, my work, farewell! he said crying,
Belz, will I forget you? No. He lashed out from here.

At the apse of the church is the fountain of the saint, and further on the last vestiges of the old monastery known as the house of Saint Cado.

The Life of Saint Cado Saint Cado