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Apr 21 – St Beuno (7th century) abbot in North Wales

21 April, 2012

As a monk St Beuno had a reputation for being relentless with hardened sinners but compassionate to those in distress. A important Jesuit retreat house in Clwyd, North Wales, is named after this famous Welsh monk of the sixth century. Patrick Duffy tells what is known about him. Ministry in North Wales Beuno is said to have been born […]

BeunoAs a monk St Beuno had a reputation for being relentless with hardened sinners but compassionate to those in distress. A important Jesuit retreat house in Clwyd, North Wales, is named after this famous Welsh monk of the sixth century. Patrick Duffy tells what is known about him.

Ministry in North Wales
Beuno is said to have been born in the kingdom of Powys and educated at Bangor. As a monk he worked in North Wales – the many dedications to him in Gwynedd, Clwyd and the island of Anglesey reflect either monasteries founded by him or by his disciples. He had a reputation of being relentless with hardened sinners but compassionate to those in distress. He is especially associated with the township of Clynnog Fawr in the Llyn peninsula, where he Beunos Churchsupposedly died and was buried.

Uncle and healer of St Winifred
Beuno is especially credited with restoring the life of his niece St Winifred (see 30th October) when an enraged suitor cut off her head on learning that she was betrothed to another (Christ?). But because of problems of chronology, scholars now posit two Saint Beunos, one (born 515) associated with St Winifred and Holywell, the other (born 575) associated with Clynnog Fawr.

St Beuno’s Retreat Centre
At Tremeirchion near St Asaph in Clwyd is the Jesuit retreat house of St Beuno’s which specialises in Ignatian spirituality and thirty day retreats. Formerly a theological college, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins spent three years (1874-7) here as a theology student and it was here that he wrote some of his best poetry: God’s Grandeur and The Wreck of the Deutschland.