Sunday, July 13, 2014

Church of St. Saens, France

The town of St. Saens in France has its main church dedicated to St. Saens, a 7th century Irish monk who founded a monastery there. The church dates from end of the 19th century, built in the neo-Roman style. Another church from the 11th century stood in the same spot but was destroyed by lightning in 1886. It was rebuilt in 1896.

St. Saens Church, France

The interior has the usual light and openness with plenty of rounded Roman arches and a typical ceiling.


Main altar


At the back is a nice high altar; off to the side is one with a painting of the Annunciation.

High altar

Annunciation altar

The stained glass windows are quite fine and date back to the 14th and 16th centuries, taken from the previous church.

St. Saens?


The baptismal font is also from the prior church and dates back to the 12th or 14th century.

L at the baptismal font, lighting a candle

The church has many fine statues, including one of St. Anthony with the child Jesus where they look at each other quite tenderly.

St. Anthony

Close up

St. Joseph with St. Therese in the background

A French king?

St. Saens himself

Several reliquaries line the sides of the church but were not identified.

Unidentified relic

Who was St. Saens?
Little is known of St. Saen. Wikipedia claims his name is really Sidonius. He came to France at the time Irish missionaries were reconverting Gaul in the 600s. He founded a monastery in 675 where the current town of St. Saens now stands. "Saen" in ancient Gaelic means "John." Possibly he was "Sen" which means "Old One" or "Elder." The last "s" was added to the town's name relatively recently, in the 1700s. His relics were taken from the monastery to a church in Fecamp in 1162 but returned to this church in 1975. His relics are in the altar reliquary, so they are not the ones pictured above!

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