Saint of the Day – 13 April – Saint Caradoc of Wales (Died 1124) Priest, Monk, Hermit , miracle-worker, Harpist. Born in the 11th century in Brycheiniog, Wales and died on 13 April 1124, which was Low Sunday that year, at Saint Isells, Wales of natural causes. His body is incorrupt. Also known as Caradog, Caractacus, Caradocus, Caradoco.
Caradoc was a Welsh nobleman, native of Brecknockshire, who after he had received a liberal education, enjoyed the confidence of Rees, or Resus, Prince of South-Wales and held an honourable place in his Court, as a harp player.
The Prince one day, on account of two greyhounds ,which were lost, fell into such a fury against Caradoc as to threaten his life. Caradoc, from this disgrace learned the inconstancy and uncertainty, of worldly honours and the best founded hopes and resolved to dedicate himself altogether to the service of the King of kings, whose promises can never fail and whose rewards are eternal.
Upon the spot he broke the tip of his spear to turn it into a walking stick and he made the sacrifice of himself to God, by a vow of perpetual chastity and of embracing a religious life. Repairing to Landaff to become a Monk, he received from the Bishop the clerical tonsure and for some time served God in the Church of St Theliau.
Being desirous of finding a closer union with God in solitude, he spent some years in a little hut, which he built himself, near the abandoned Church of St Kined.
The reputation of his sanctity filled the whole country and the Archbishop of Menevia, or St David’s, calling him to that town, promoted him to the Priestly orders. The saint hence retired, with certain devout companions, to the isle of Ary.
Certain pirates from Norway, who often infested these coasts, carried them off as prisoners,but, fearing the judgements of God, safely set them on shore again the next day. However, the Archbishop of Menevia assigned the saint another habitation in the Monastery of St Hismael, commonly called Ysam, in the country of Ross, or Pembroke-shire.
Henry I., King of England, having subdued the southern Welsh, sent a colony of Flemings into the country of Ross, who drove the old Britons out of their possessions. The saint and his Monastery suffered much from the oppressions of these new inhabitants, especially of Richard Tankard, a powerful Englishman among them. This nobleman was, after some time, struck by God with a dangerous illness and having recourse to St Caradoc, was, by his prayers, restored to his health. From this time the saint and his Monastery found a benefactor and protector.
St Caradoc died on Low-Sunday, the 13th of April, in the year 1124 and was buried with great honour in the Church of St David. We are assured that his tomb was illustrated by miracles and his body was found whole and incorrupt several years after, when it was translated with great solemnity. The historian, William of Malmesbury, tried to cut off a finger to take as a relic but St Caradoc’s hand jerked away!
A letter from Pope Innocent III ordering an enquiry into his life and miracles still survives. The Church at Lawrenny in Wales, is dedicated to him.
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