Mitchell Library – Celebrating the Life of St Mungo in Words and Song
On Saturday 14th January, the Mitchell Library hosted an event which has developed from the reception in Glasgow of a copy of the Vita Sancti Kentigerni – the Life of St Mungo written by Jocelyn of Furness around 1200AD at the behest of Bishop Jocelyn of Glasgow.
At this event, a reading of a section of the Vita is proclaimed in the original Latin and in an English translation. There was a certain sadness as the late Archbishop Conti had frequently read the Latin text and his presence was much missed. This year his place was taken by Fr Willy Slaven, as Archbishop Nolan was in Jordan.
The event began with Carissa Swan playing on the harp to welcome those present. Then the St Mungo Singers sang the opening section of the Vesper of St Mungo in Latin to give people a feel for how the feast would have been celebrated in the mediaeval period. Glasgow’s Poet Laureate, Jim Carruth, then read his lovely poem on Mungo and, fittingly for the Year of Historic Women, a new poem dedicated to St Thenew (or Enoch or Theneu) the mother of St Mungo.
A student of St Denis Primary School, Kamsi Tabulu, dressed as St Mungo, followed this with a brilliant proclamation by St Mungo of the story of his life, before Fr Willy Slaven and Rev Mark Johnstone (Minister of Glasgow Cathedral) read the excerpts from the beginning of the Vita Kentigerni which told of the expulsion of St Enoch by her father and the birth of St Mungo in Culross.
The event closed with the singing of the Glasgow anthem Let Glasgow Flourish