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The Life & Legacy of Saint Gerald: Monk & Bishop of Mayo

Articles | December 5, 2023 | by Catholics for Catholics

Gerald, an English monk and bishop of Mayo, was born at an unknown date. After the Synod of Whitby in 664, he accompanied St. Colman to Ireland and settled in Innisboffin in 668. The Abbey of Mayo, also known as “Mayo of the Saxons,” was established when dissension arose between the Irish and English monks, leading St. Colman to found a separate monastery for the English brethren in 670. St. Gerald became the first abbot, and the Abbey of Mayo was occupied by English monks who lived chaste and single lives under the guidance of a rule and canonical abbot.

Despite St. Gerald’s youth, he proved to be a wise leader, governing Mayo until 697 when he resigned in favor of St. Adamnan, according to some sources. It is said that St. Adamnan celebrated the Roman Easter at Mayo in 703, then went on to Skreen in Hy Fiachrach. After his departure, the monks persuaded St. Gerald to resume the abbacy. Although Mayo was merged with Tuam for a period, it remained a separate see until 1579. St. Gerald continued to reign over the Abbey and Diocese of Mayo until he passed away on March 13, 731. His feast is celebrated on December 5.

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