30 August ~ St. Ayle

Ayle was one of the outstanding group of Irish missionaries who took the faith into the countries of the European continent. The leader of this group was St. Columbanus of Bobbio. Ayle accompanied St. Eustace to Bavaria where he became the pioneer missionary noted both for personal devotion and scholarship. He then penetrated to the further side of the Jura mountains to preach but returned to end his life preaching in Bavaria. He died about 650, near Meaux, aged 66.

It is not known why Ayle’s cult became popular in Scotland. The abbey of Balmerino in north FIfe, and Anstruther in the south of the country both have evidence of the influence of the cult of St. Ayle: there are chapels dedicated to him at Balmerino and at Anstruther-Easter, which also had St. Ayle’s croft and house. His n ame is found in several spellings: Yle, Yzle and eve Teal, the usual name for him in Balmerino. Here the last letter of the word saint has become affixed to the name. There is also Killmayaille in Kintyre with an ancient site.

A.P. Forbes, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, 1872

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