|An embroidery piece I'm working on of St Mungo|
Even before I moved to Glasgow in September 2010, I had heard of that city's patron saint. My sister and I had discovered a charming mystery series set in Glasgow in the 15th century. I recommend it - the author is Pat McIntosh. However, as soon as one is in Glasgow, St Mungo is ever present - on the sides of buildings, on bridges, everywhere you turn the Glasgow city coat of arms is seen, and therefore, the symbols of St Mungo's miracles.
In honour of his feast day, which is today, I thought I'd focus a post on the life of this saint.
|A figure of St Mungo in the Memorial Chapel on the University of Glasgow campus.|
According to his hagiography, Saint Mungo (or Kentigern, as he's officially known) was born to a noble woman who was raped by a man dressed up as a woman, as she did not want to marry. Her father banished her by throwing her down a hill (as they lived in a hill fort it is assumed). Some say it might be Traprain Law on the east coast of Scotland. After this she was put out to sea, in hopes that she would not survive. When she reached the shore, however, she was taken in by St Serf, and when Kentigern was born, Serf brought him up.
|The plaques below the ladies bear the Glasgow city seal.|
|A beautiful statue of Mungo above the entrance to the Kelvingrove Museum.|
|St Mungo's tomb in the cathedral.|
|On the side of a house inside the Botanic Gardens.|
In an article by Alan MacQuarrie published in The Innes Review, these later accounts of Mungo's life are discussed, as well as earlier sources that were available to the authors, but which are lost to us. He also tries to pick out which elements of Mungo's life might actually be true. Though it is difficult to discover which is truth and which is fantasy, it is fascinating to see how the stories of St Mungo's life have inspired not only the people of Glasgow, but people all around the world.