Foillan was an Irish monk who lived in the seventh century. His two brothers have also been declared saints. They were some of the many zealous Irish apostles. They left their homeland to help other countries that had fewer priests than Ireland. Sts. Foillan, Fursey and Ultan went to England first. They established a monastery in Burgh Castle. From this spot, they did missionary work among the East Angles. When invaders of the land robbed the monastery of everything it had, Sts. Foillan and Ultan decided to preach the Gospel in France. Their other brother, St. Fursey, had already worked as a missionary and had died there.
King Clovis II welcomed the two holy missionaries as he had welcomed their brother before them. Foillan was given land by Blessed Itta and her daughter. St. Gertrude asked him to preach to the nuns of the convent over which she was abbess. He did so, and had great influence on them. He also did missionary work among the people. In fact, St. Foillan is a well-remembered Irish saint in Europe.
One day, after celebrating Mass for St. Gertrude and her nuns, Father Follian set out on a journey with three companions. They were going to see his brother Ultan, who was preaching in another area. While passing through a forest, they were attacked by a band of robbers and killed. Their bodies were not found for about two and a half months. Then St. Gertrude had St. Foillan buried with honor in the abbey he had started.