One of my readers requested that I diverge from my usual posts re living easily in France, gardening, etc. and devote a little space to Saint Herve since the celebration of his life is on June 17. This might be the place to confess that in the hamlet of Saint Houarneau said celebration is more about the boules tournament than the sainted one. And, yes, money changes hands.
And what, you may ask does Saint Houarneau have to do with Saint Herve? Upon the death of his mama, a hermitess, Herve moved to Lanhouarneau (as it was then known) to set up a monestery. Not a lot is known about this man of the cloth who is better recognized as being a Celtic saint. (NOT necessarily recognized by the Pope) But one story persists and I shall tell it as it has been told -yea these many years around the fire. It’s a good yarn but may need a little back story to be fully appreciated.
The story goes that Herve was born somewhere around the year 530 A.D. to a bard of the then king of Brittany who was originally from Britain and a young woman who preferred the life of a hermitess. Herve was born blind and after his birth his parents gave him to a man of the church named Arzian who became the boy’s spiritual guide. The lad. despite his blindness. was extremely smart and clever. He devoted himself to the spiritual life, living out his life (a long one) near where the head waters of the Blavet River meet the Aulin tream on its journey to the sea. To this day a chapel still stands there in the hamlet of St.Houarneau.
At the age of about 15, St. Herve’s first miracle occurred. The story goes that while plowing a field, a wolf attacked and ate the ass pulling the plow. Herve prayed fervently and the wolf took up the yoke and continued to plow the field for the blind Saint. The wolf, in an act of mercy, also protected the sheep from other wolves. Saint Herve is the patron saint of all eye deseases and veterinarians… or so the story goes. And there you have it.
On or about June 17, the village of St. Houarneau will come together for a meal at the old school house and the tournament of boules and perhaps some dancing and frivolity in honor of our beloved Saint Herve.
A RECOMMENDATION FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE: (New feature of this blog) I have recently finished a most delightful book “Marshmallows for Breakfast” by Dorothy Koomson. I highly recommend it to you. You may order this book from Amazon.com. I will be looking for more books by Ms. Koomson for my own reading pleasure.
HOW MY GARDEN GROWS: A few shots of my glorious Clematis, Irises, Poppies and Vegetables thrown in:
Clematis hybrid. A vine on the fence between dog yard and garden.
Lettuce growing in the Iris bed.
The Asian Opium Poppies have started to bloom!