Tuesday, May 2, 2023

The Other Samson

           Another Samson?  Yes; today we shall look into the life of Samson of Dol, a Welsh saint (from Dyfed) who was known as one of the seven founder-saints of Brittany (in France).  His biography is preserved in Vita Sancti Samsonis, composed sometime in 610-820.

Samson of Dol
          After growing up as a child of Amon of Demetia and Anna of Gwent, Samson was raised by Illtud, the abbot in Llantwit Fawr, Wales.    When Pyr, abbot of a monastery on Caldey Island, died after falling into a well – being very drunk –  Samson, who abstained from alcoholic drinks, temporarily took on himself the responsibilities of abbot there, but resigned because the monks of the place had become ungovernable under Pyr’s guidance (or misguidance).  Samson then traveled to Ireland.

          In 521, Samson was ordained a bishop, and his industry in evangelism was remarkable.  Samson founded monastic communities in Cornwall, and in the Scilly Isles, and in Guernsey, at Dol (for which he is named, and where he was buried).

         More information about Samson of Dol can be found at Wikipedia.  But I want to zoom in now on a little incident that is recorded about him in Book 1, ch. 16 of his biography:  the author states that Samson, aware that a cup set before him had been poisoned, remembered the word of the Gospel where Christ says concerning his faithful who trust in him, “If they shall drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them,” and so Samson happily entered the refectory, made the sign of the cross over his own vessel, drank it dry without any wavering of mind, and never felt the slightest heartache from it.

          I do not recommend Samson’s decision to others.  This little incident is mentioned as yet another example of the full acceptance of Mark 16:9-20 in the Latin text used in Western Europe.


Daniel Buck said...

That verse came to mind once when I traveled to the home of an extremely powerful shaman to confront him and his consort. People were pleading with me not to go, as he had threatened to kill me and my companion. We went nonetheless. After all attempts to scare us off failed, he suddenly switched tactics and offered us coffee and cigarettes. I had determined to fast that day, so drank only protozoan-infested water I'd gotten out of a nearby spring. My colleague took him up on both offers, reminding me of that verse. We both survived, but unlike him, I got a bad case of diarrhea.

James Snapp Jr said...

Daniel Buck,