Samson of Dol

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Samson of Dol was a bishop who became one of the greatest missionaries of the sixth century in western Europe, evangelizing for Christ in Ireland, Cornwall, Channel Islands, and Brittany. His feast day is July 28.


St. Samson was born of noble blood in Wales, the son of Amon of Dyfed and Anna of Gwent, about the year 590. As part of a prophecy concerning his birth, his parents placed him under the care of St.Illtud, abbot of Llantwit, to become a monk. He received ordination as deacon and priest from Bp. Dubricius. He later became abbot of the monastery on Caldey Island. There he was joined by his father Amon and uncle Umbrafel. After a visit to Ireland, Samson became a hermit with Amon whom he had cured of a mortal illness.

While visiting Cornwall, Samson was consecrated bishop by Bp. Dubricius on February 22, 521, but without appointment to a particular see. Also, in Cornwall, he founded a monastery, of which he was abbot. From Cornwall, Samson began his missionary travels, visiting the Channel Islands and then Brittany where he founded a monastery at Dol and spent the remainder of his life. In Brittany, he became active in Breton politics, taking part in the excommunication of King Conomor, who had murdered Prince Jonas father of Prince Judwal, and petitioning King Childebert I of Paris on behalf of King Judwal for recovery of his inheritance.

Bp. Samson died July 28, 565 in Dol-de-Bretagne and was buried in the Cathedral of Dol with his cousin Magloire. One of the foremost missionaries of his century, St. Samson has long been venerated in Wales and Brittany.


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