Ninnoc (fl. 6th c.)

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Ninnoc (fl. 6th c.)

British saint and abbess. Flourished in the 6th century in Brittany; daughter of Brochan, king of north Britain; never married; no children.

A Saxon princess, Ninnoc was the daughter of King Brochan of north Britain. Although reportedly she was supposed to inherit the kingdom on her father's death, she instead chose to give her life to God. She refused to marry and gained permission to move to Brittany. Her piety and strong sense of devotion led many other Saxon nobles to follow her. In Brittany, she was given a settlement near the town of Blemur, where she founded a monastery and became its abbess. Her fame spread across Brittany, and the abbey soon became known as Lannennoc after its founder.

Ninnoc was an able administrator and was said to have taught agricultural techniques to the settlers of Brittany; she also fostered other land improvements, such as a massive tree-planting project to provide sustenance to the Bretons and allow them to live better. Ninnoc gained a reputation as a protector of women; in artistic depictions of her, she is often shown with a stag lying at her feet, said to represent the abused women who found shelter and protection at Lannennoc. She was also reported to be able to effect miracles. Ninnoc was canonized some years after her death.

Laura York , Riverside, California