On the Trail of St Sampson
What is it that makes Cornwall a place rich in Celtic saints? At St Sampson’s South Hill, a place seemingly hidden away in East Cornwall, we have an amazing faith and heritage story to tell, starting with St Sampson and continuing to this day.
Anne Hayward will be giving a talk at St Sampson’s South Hill on Tuesday 5th April 7pm.
Anne will be telling us about early Celtic saints and their journeys and the incredible impact this age of the saints still has on us. We all know about The Saint’s Way from Padstow to Fowey, but there are other less well known and trod routes. Perhaps we can create local pilgrimage routes to inspire a new generation of pilgrims?
The focus of the talk will be especially on St Sampson and his life and travels. Sampson has the distinction of being the only ‘Cornish’ saint whose ‘Life’, or biography as we would call it today, was written less than two hundred years after his death. We know he started life in Wales and died in France, but the Cornish bit in between is full of excitement; Killing giant serpents, being asked to leave a monastery for being too good and restoring a man back to life.
At the heart of the Christianity of Celtic people like St Sampson, was a profound faith and a sense of calling to discipleship. They went out into the world sowing the seeds of God’s kingdom. They travelled long distances, engaged with people in the local communities they visited and told them the good news about Jesus Christ. Sampson really seems to have existed and to have been a pilgrim and a true disciple. We can imagine a simply dressed man, with sandals on his feet, carrying nothing more than a cloth bag for his belongings. Someone like that must have come to the area we now call South Hill and spread the word of God. We like to believe St Sampson built his monastery at South Hill, evidence points towards this, but we cannot prove it! I believe that person was probably Sampson and I thank God for his faithful obedience.
Anne has undertaken many personal pilgrimages and it will be a delight to hear about her experiences as a pilgrim and church visitor, as she tells us what makes a good church welcome. Her book ‘A Celtic Pilgrimage’, which has a forward by the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen Bishop of Truro, gives some history of the ancient Celtic places visited and recalls conversations with those she met as a modern-day pilgrim. It is a fascinating read.
A warm welcome awaits.
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