St Foillan

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Irish monk and missionary. St Foillan was a brother of St Fursey, a 7th century bishop. Together they travelled to East Anglia and established a monastery at Burgh Castle - the remains of which can be seen today. When Penda, King of Mercia invaded they fled to Neustria in France where they were well received by the local King Clovis II.

St Foillan later founded a monastery at Fosses and worked as a missionary in Brabant. He was killed in 650 by bandits at Serette while on a visitation to the Irish monastic communities in Lagny and Peronne. The story of the two brothers was recorded by Bede and several other ancient writers.

Foillan was one of the many Irish missionaries who in the course of the seventh century evangelised France and Belgium, bringing the liturgy, building churches and founding many monasteries.

He is honoured and venerated both at Nivelles and Fosses. At Le Roeulx in Belgium a monastery bears his name. He is the patron of Fosses, near Charieroi. In the Diocese of Namur his feast is celebrated on 31 October, in the Dioceses of Mechlin and Tournai on 5 November.

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