St Maccallin or Malcallan

Abbot of St Michael’s Thièrache, and Wasor, Belgium. 10th century. Feastday: 21st January.

During the 10th century, Ireland suffered badly from various civil disturbances, social disorders and particularly from Viking attacks. However, she continued to preserve the faith and works of charity in her schools and monasteries. She also continued to send a great number of enlightened and zealous teachers and missioners to the Continent. Our Saint was one of these and he has been written of by Fr Colgan, the Bollandists and other hagiographers.

Early in the 10th century, St Maccallin was born, raised and educated in Ireland, but where and by whom is unknown. Accounts indicate that about 946, our Saint, together with St Cad(th)roe (6th March), St Fingen (5th February), St Lazarus and about 12 other pious companions, all went to France and sought the shrine of St Fursey at Péronne. Some say our Saint and St Cadroe went to the Abbot Agnoald at Gorzé in Lorraine where they became monks. Very soon afterwards, the local Lord, Count Gilbert, with the approval of King Otto of the Germans provided a site and supports for a monastery at Thièrache, and St Malcallan was made Abbot. Thièrache lay in Belgic Gaul (France), in the Diocese of Laon, and near Haynault.

A short time later, a second monastery was founded and supported by the same sponsors at the nearby Wasor (Waulsort) on the river Meuse. Our Saint governed both monasteries for some time. King Otto issued a Charter to the monastery at Wasor and declared that it should be reserved for Irish miossioners and that its Abbot should be chosen from the Irish therein. Finding the workload too much, our Saint placed St Cadroe in charge of Wasor, but the latter died about 975 and St Maccallin became Abbot of both monasteries once more, being enthroned by the Bishop of Metz. Our Saint often wished for the life of prayer and the solitude of the hermit, but duty called and he was regularly placed in charge.

St Maccallin himself died about 978 and he was buried in the Church of St Michael of the Angels at Thièrache, where he was regarded as a Saint and held in great popular veneration.

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