By T.K. Wilson
St. Mungo was born Kentigern, son of Princess Teneu of Lothian. He was the result of his mother being attacked by Owain mab Urien, for which her father, King Lot (also called Lleuddun) had Teneu thrown from a cliff. She miraculously survived and came to an area inhabited by a man called Saint Serf, and was cared for by him. Teneu is also now a saint, and for those up on their Arthurian lore, this makes Mungo the nephew of Gawain, Gaheris, Gareth, Agrivain, and Mordred.
St. Serf took to calling Kentigern “Mungo” which is a corruption of the Welsh and Gaelic endearments both meaning “my dear one”. At the age of twenty five, Mungo had already started his own missionary efforts, moving from Serf’s colony on the River Forth to an area on the River Clyde, where the city of Glasgow stands today. He brought many to faith by his piety and good works, while living like an anchorite near his church.
A wave of persecution hit the area, driving Mungo down to Wales, where he lived with St. David for a while, then helped St. Asaph build a church at Llanelwy, now the city of Saint Asaph, then he took a pilgrimage to Rome. When a new king came to power in his home area, he called for Mungo to return, and so he returned to Glasgow. While on a visit to the nearby town of Kilmacolm, Mungo met still another future saint, Columba, and the two exchanged pastoral staves as a sign of friendship. Mungo became feeble in his old age, and died while either taking a bath or overseeing a baptismal service.
In the example of St. Mungo, let us overcome our circumstances in the Lord’s power and labor in His name!