Herebald

He was British, Herebald (8th century). From his earliest youth he longed for piety and a quiet place to live. Therefore he crossed over to Brittany, then called Armorica. Not only during the crossing, but also on the mainland, Herebald performed miracles of salvation and healing of sick and weak people. He was increasingly admired. However he could not cope with the situation and decided to live in the woods around Berrien. Unfortunately there he was bullied by angry women. Angry? Yes, because Herebald urged their men to spend more time praying. Of course, in the eyes of the women, this was at the expense of the work. Also the women did not agree that the men had to fast more. And… abstain from sexual intercourse from time to time! So the women took away Herebald’s clothes as he let them dry in the sun. Later on they also set Herebald’s house on fire and pelted him with stones. Poor Herebald!

Herebald left and settled near Huelgoat and Loqueffret. He was able to borrow two oxen from a farmer to move all his stuff. After the work was done, the animals did not want to go back to the farmer. So they stayed with Herebald, even after his death. Everyone could borrow the animals but after use they had to bring them back before dawn. It went well for a long time until a miserly farmer held the oxen after sunrise. The animals were never seen again.

The place where Herebald lived his life is now called St. Herbot (department Finistere). His tomb is still there to visit.

Today Herebald is the patron of horned cattle, particularly cows. He makes sure that they give milk of first quality. In the past farmers prayed: ‘Saint Herebald, we would like to have the churn filled with butter!’ On the fifty-fifth day after Easter – the Friday after Pentecost – every year a ‘pardon’ (procession) is held in Saint-Herbot. The first Sunday of August, Herebald has a ‘pardon’ in Pluméliau (department Morbihan). On that occasion the cattle are decorated with bows and ribbons and they are led around the church three times. Every time the farmers pass the main entrance they make a slight bow. Finally the animals are blessed by a priest. In return the faithful offer rope and halters of hemp, horsehair and butter.

So, people, if your cows give too little milk, just get down on your knees and pray to Herebald!

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