Another Western Saint with a Familiar Name

Most commonly Foillan of Fosses, Belgium, his mother in Inchiquin, Ireland called him Faelan, the same given name as an ancestor of mine who ruled County Waterford and vicinity a few centuries later, and gave his name to my Irish sept (“clan”), the O Faolain’s, or as I spell it, O’Filon.

I’m not related to French Filon’s/Filion’s, but their name appears to be derived directly from this same Holy Hieromartyr Foillan, in a patronal sort of way. Some of them settled in Quebec, Canada, in the 1600s, and gave their name to the Montreal suburb of Bois-des-Filion (The Filions’ Grove).

Another French spelling of Faelan/Foillan is Feuillien…and St. Feuillien’s is a fine beer, especially the Brune (brown), rather chocolatey! (There’s a slight mistranslation in the History essay at the first link in that sentence: the monastery of St. Foillan didn’t become THE Abbey of Premontres, merely AN abbey of Premontres, affiliated with it so to speak. Here’s a little more detail, with color pictures! It’s in French, but machine translations mostly do it justice. The “Monastery of Bubbles” is Nivelles!)

Feast day: October 31 with three companions in martyrdom. Enlightener of Brabant. Son of King Fintan of Munster Province in the southwest of Ireland; brother of two other Saints, Ultan and Fursey; kin of St. Brendan the Navigator, Discoverer of America.


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