St Mungo healing oil
The St Mungo healing oil is dedicated to the great Scottish saint and missionary.
St Mungo, was an apostle of the Scottish Kingdom of Strathclyde in the late sixth century. Also, he was the founder and patron saint of the city of Glasgow.
In Scotland, he is known by the pet name Mungo.
Mungo’s mother Teneu was a princess. She became pregnant through a love affair. Her furious father had her thrown from the heights of Traprain Law. She survived. However, she was then abandoned in a coracle in which she drifted across the River Forth to Culross in Fife. There Mungo was born.
Mungo becomes a missionary
Mungo was brought up by Saint Serf who was ministering to the Picts in that area. Also, it was Serf who gave him his popular pet-name. At the age of twenty-five, Mungo began his missionary labours on the Clyde, on the site of modern Glasgow. Subsequently, he built his church across the water from an extinct volcano, next to the Molendinar Burn. It is there the present medieval cathedral now stands. For some thirteen years, he laboured in the district, living a most austere life in a small cell. As a result, he made many converts by his holy example and his preaching.
However, a strong anti-Christian movement in Strathclyde, compelled Mungo to leave the district. He retired to Wales, via Cumbria, staying for a time with Saint David at St David’s. Afterwards, he moved on to Gwynedd where he founded a cathedral at St Asaph. While there, he undertook a pilgrimage to Rome. However, the new King of Strathclyde, Riderch Hael, invited Mungo to return to his kingdom. He decided to go. Also, he appointed Saint Asaph as Bishop in his place.
For some years, Mungo fixed his Episcopal seat at Hoddom. Consequently, he evangelised the district of Galloway. He eventually returned to Glasgow where a large community grew up around him. Also, it was nearby, in Kilmacolm, that he was visited by Saint Columba, who was at that time labouring in Strathtay. The two saints embraced, held long converse, and exchanged their pastoral staves. In old age, Mungo became very feeble and his chin had to be set in place with a bandage. He is said to have died in his bath, on Sunday 13 January.
In the Life of Saint Mungo, he performed four miracles in Glasgow.
The Bird: Mungo restored life to a robin, that had been killed by some of his classmates.
The Tree: Mungo had been left in charge of a fire in Saint Serf’s monastery. He fell asleep and the fire went out. Taking a hazel branch, he restarted the fire.
The Bell: the bell is thought to have been brought by Mungo from Rome. It was said to have been used in services and to mourn the deceased. The original bell no longer exists, and a replacement, created in the 1640s, is now on display in Glasgow.
The Fish: refers to the story about Queen Languoreth of Strathclyde who was suspected of infidelity by her husband. King Riderch demanded to see her ring, which he claimed she had given to her lover. In reality the King had thrown it into the River Clyde. Faced with execution she appealed for help to Mungo, who ordered a messenger to catch a fish in the river. On opening the fish, the ring was miraculously found inside, which allowed the Queen to clear her name.
On the spot where Mungo was buried now stands the cathedral dedicated in his honour. His shrine was a great centre of Christian pilgrimage until the Scottish Reformation. His remains are said to still rest in the crypt. A spring called “St. Mungo’s Well” fell eastwards from the apse.
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