|Saint Bavo, Hermit - lived
589 to ca. 654
In the medieval Europe, "conversion" did not mean coming into the Christian faith. It meant leaving the vanities of this world to embrace the monastic life. St. Bavo served as a good model for such a conversion. The story is that he was a particularly wicked lay aristocrat from Brabant who abused his family and servants, but who repented after hearing a sermon by St. Amand. At first St. Bavo accompanied his new mentor in itinerant preaching, but eventually he became a hermit in a forest near Ghent.
The few pre-modern images I have turned up show St. Bavo as he was either before or in the process of his conversion. At left, for example, we see him dressed as a 15th century aristocrat. In a Bosch painting, he is giving away his wealth to the poor but still in his expensive clothes and still carrying his falcon on his wrist. (The falcon reappears as a smaller bird in a modern devotional image of St. Bavo as a hermit.)
Feast day: October 1, celebrated in Ghent and Liège
At left, sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum, New York
Vita Bavonis Confessoris Gandavensis (in Latin), in Monumenta Germaniae HistoricaMenu