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ST MELANGELL AND THE HARE

St Melangell was the daughter of an Irish monarch, who had determined to marry her to a nobleman of his court.  In order to escape marriage, she took a vow of celibacy and travelled across the Irish Sea to take refuge in a remote spot in Powys, Wales.  There she lived a peaceful and solitary life without seeing the face of any man for fifteen years.

It so happened that one day the Prince of Powys, Brochwel Yscythrog was out hunting when his dogs roused a hare and took chase.  The prince thought his dogs had the hare at their mercy so when he caught up with them he was amazed to find the dogs subdued and a woman praying in a thicket of thorns.  The frightened hare was sheltering under the folds of Melangell's cloak.

Prince Brochwel Yscythrog ordered his chief huntsman to blow on his horn to encourage the dogs to attack ,but when he tried to blow the horn no sound was made and it stuck fast to his lips.

The Prince then spoke to Melangell and listened to her story. He was so moved and impressed by her serenity and hard life as a hermitess he gave her the valley to create a sanctuary.  He also asked her to found an abbey on the site, where she became the abbess of a small religious community.  She lived for many years, and after her death her memory continued to be honored at her shrine, Pennant Melangell; it has been a place of pilgrimage for many centuries.

Melangell is the Patron Saint of Hares, rabbits, small animals and the natural environment and her feast day has been on  May 27th since the year 590

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