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May 27

The month of Mary: A Marian Month

Saint of the day:

St. Melangell 

Patron Saint of bunnies, small animals and the natural environment  

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St. Melangell 

St Melangell's story begins as a familiar one.  She was a 7th-century Irish princess who had dedicated her life to prayer.  Her father, the king, had arranged for her to marry against her will.  Wishing to preserve her life of virginity and prayer, in about the year 590 she fled Ireland and settled in the countryside of what we know today as Wales.  There she lived a life of solitude and prayer.

Nearly fifteen years later, in the year 604, Brochwel Ysgithrog, then Prince of Powys and Earl of Chester, encountered the young Melangell while hunting, when the hare that his hounds were chasing took refuge under her cloak.  Seeing her, the hounds stopped.  Brochwel tried to command them to go on but Melangell defied them and they turned and fled.

Brochwel had never experienced anything like this, and was keen to speak to the mysterious young woman.  Struck by her beauty, he had hoped that she would marry him, but when he heard her story he was so moved and impressed by her determination and piety that he donated to her a parcel of land in the valley where she could live her monastic life among the wild creatures there.

News of her spread throughout the area and other women came to gather around her, forming a community there.  They ordered their communal life on prayer and works of mercy, providing sanctuary to the poor and needy.  Melangell was the mother to this community of women for the remaining 37 years of her life, and was often seen surrounded by hares during this time.

After Melangell's death, her tomb became a place of healing, with pilgrims travelling for miles to venerate her relics and ask her intercession.   Brochwel's successors decreed that the area must be protected as a place of solace for those in need of healing and restoration, as well as a place of refuge for the small animals, who were to remain unharmed. So it remained for centuries.


However, at the Reformation, the site was desecrated.  The holy shrine was destroyed and the stones were scattered in the churchyard, with some incorporated into walls and other structures.  In an act of love and devotion reflected in many parts of the country where holy places were laid to ruin, the pious local people had hidden St Melangell's relics so that the desecrators could not destroy them.  However, over time, any memory of their location died.

By the late 20th century, the church was in such a state of disrepair that serious renovation work was required to save it.  It was during this work that bones were discovered hidden in the fabric of the church.  These were found to be those of a woman, dating from the 6th or 7th century - undoubtedly those of the saint, saved by the piety of the local people centuries ago.

The shrine was reconstructed from the stones reclaimed from around the churchyard, and the holy relics were enshrined once more.  The little church at Pennant Melangell is once again a place of pilgrimage, where people go to venerate St Melangell, to ask for her prayers, and to thank God for her as a model of piety and protectress of the little animals.








The Shrine Church & Centre of Saint Melangell

Pennant Melangell, Oswestry SY10 0HQ, United Kingdom

Saint Melangell Centre, Pennant Melangell, Llangynog, Powys, SY10 0HQ. Telephone: 01691 860408

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Carrot Cake


For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 1/4 cups canola or other vegetable oil

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3 cups grated peeled carrots (5 to 6 medium carrots)

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

  • 1/2 cup raisins

For the Frosting Directions

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 stick of butter

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, for topping cake


Directions Bake the cake

  1. Heat the oven to 350 ºF. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper then grease the top of the paper. Or, grease and flour the bottom and sides of both pans.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and the cinnamon until well blended.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, sugars, and vanilla. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until combined.

  4. Switch to a large rubber spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, gently stirring until they disappear and the batter is smooth. Stir in the carrots, nuts, and raisins.

Bake the cake

  1. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake until the tops of the cake layers are springy when touched and when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.

  2. Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes then turn out onto cooling racks, peel off parchment paper and cool completely. (If you find that a cake layer is stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave the cake pan upside down and allow gravity to do its thing).

To Finish

  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with a handheld mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.

  2. Beat in the powdered sugar, a 1/4 cup at a time until fluffy. Pour in cream and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Chill covered until ready to frost cake.

  3. When the cake layers are completely cool, frost the top of one cake layer, place the other cake layer on top. Decoratively swirl the top of the cake with remaining frosting, leaving the sides unfrosted. Scatter nuts on top.

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