Saint Hervé

Saint Hervé (c. 521 – 575 AD), also known as Harvey, Herveus, or Houarniaule, was a sixth-century Breton saint. Along with Saint Ives, he is one of the most popular of the Breton saints. He was born in Guimiliau (Gwimilio).

Saint Hervé
Effigy of St Hervé, with St Milau in the background, in the parish church at Guimiliau.
Bornc. 521
Guimiliau, Breton chiefdoms
Diedc. 575[1]
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
Feast17 June
AttributesBlind abbot being led by a wolf or his child guide
PatronageThe blind; bards; musicians; invoked against eye problems, eye disease; invoked to cure sick horses


Hervé was the son of a Welsh bard named Hyvarnion, who had studied under Cadoc. Hyvarnion became a minstrel at the court of Childebert I. His mother was Rivanone, a woman of surpassing beauty who knew the properties of plants and herbs.[2]

Hervé was born blind. His father died when Hervé was still quite young. He inherited his father's harp. His mother became an anchoress and entrusted the seven-year-old boy to the care of his uncles who placed him with a learned hermit who lived in the forest. At about fourteen years of age, he went to study at the monasastic school at Plouvien, where his maternal uncle, Gourvoyed was abbot. Hervé grew up to become a teacher and minstrel.[1]

With his disciple Guiharan, Hervé lived near Plouvien as a hermit and bard.[3] He had the power to cure animals and was accompanied by a domesticated wolf. His wolf devoured the ox or donkey Hervé used in plowing. Hervé then preached a sermon that was so eloquent that the wolf begged to be allowed to serve in the ox's stead. Hervé's wolf pulled the plow from that day on.

He was joined by disciples and refused any ordination or earthly honour, accepting only to be ordained as an exorcist. He died in 556 AD and was buried at Lanhouarneau.


Saint Hervé is venerated throughout Brittany. His feast day is June the 17th.

For fear of the Normans, his relics were removed to a silver shrine in the chapel of the Château de Brest. Given to the Bishop of Nantes, they were lost during the Revolution.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Monks of Ramsgate. "Herveus". Book of Saints 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 2 September 2013   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ Brown, Abbie Farwell. The Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts illustrations by Fanny Y. Cory, 1900   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ "St. Hervé", FAithND

External linksEdit