Who Was Saint Abigail?

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Saint Abigail is an Irish saint from the 5th century, recognized in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches for her use of herbal medicine to heal people, her skills as a beekeeper and for protecting her village from the plague. She is also widely respected as the sister and disciple of St. Abban.

St. Abigail’s Gailic name is Gobnait, and in England she is known as St. Deborah, denoting honeybee. A popular story surrounding Saint Abigail’s ability with bees is one of her chasing off a brigand with an angry swarm of bees, forcing him to return the cattle he had stolen. Her church and nunnery were located near Muscraige. In Ireland they still celebrate her feast day on Feb. 11 as a national feast, while many other recognitions of saints are local only. One of the characteristics of the religious order she started is that they went around healing people’s ailments. It is assumed by most sources that she did this with various herbal remedies in which she used her honey. Some sources also recognize the Abigail in the Old Testament as a saint as well. She is known for saving King David from her foolish husband Nabal. Later she marries David and becomes the mother of Amasa.