Saint Eucherius

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Saint Eucherius

Bishop of Orleans
(687-738)

This Saint was born at Orleans of a very illustrious family. At his birth his parents dedicated him to God, for his mother had been advised in a vision that he would some day be Bishop of the city of Orleans. They took great care to form both his mind and his heart. His improvement in virtue kept pace with his progress in learning; he meditated assiduously on the sacred writings, especially on Saint Paul’s manner of speaking on the world and its enjoyments, calling them mere empty shadows which deceive us and vanish away. These reflections at length sank so deeply into his mind that he resolved to leave the world. To put this design in execution, about the year 714 he retired to the abbey of Jumiege in Normandy, where he spent six or seven years in the practice of penitential austerities and obedience.

When his uncle, the bishop of Orleans, died, the senate and people with the clergy of that city, begged permission to elect Eucherius to the vacant see. The Saint entreated his monks to screen him from the honors threatening him; but they preferred the public good to any private inclinations, and resigned him to accept that important charge. He was consecrated with universal applause in 721.

Charles Martel, to defray the expenses of his wars and other undertakings, often stripped the churches of their revenues. Saint Eucherius reproved these encroachments with so much zeal that in the year 737, Charles banished him to Cologne. The extraordinary esteem which his virtue procured him in that city caused Charles to have him taken to a fortress in the territory of Liege. The governor of that country was so charmed with his virtue that he made him the distributer of his large alms, and allowed him to retire to the monastery of Sarchinium, or Saint Tron’s. Here prayer and contemplation were his whole employment until the year 743, in which he died, on the 20th of February.

Reflection. Nothing softens the soul and weakens piety so much as frivolous indulgence. God has revealed what high store He sets by retirement in these words, spoken of His Spouse, the Church: I will lead her into solitude, and I will speak to her heart. (Osee 2:14)

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Saint Conrad of Piacenza

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Saint Conrad of Piacenza

Hermit († 1351)

Saint Conrad was living peacefully as a nobleman of Piacenza. He had married when quite young and led a virtuous and God-fearing life. One day, when engaged in his usual pastime of hunting, he ordered his attendants to set fire to some brushwood where game had taken refuge. The prevailing wind caused the flames to spread rapidly, and the surrounding fields and forest were soon in a state of conflagration. A mendicant who happened to be found near the place where the fire had originated was accused of being the author; he was imprisoned, tried and condemned to death. As the poor man was being led to execution, Conrad, stricken with remorse, declared the man innocent and confessed his own guilt openly. In order to repair the damage of which he had been the cause, as he then volunteered to do, he was obliged to sell all his possessions. He repaid his neighbors for all the losses they had suffered, then retired to a distant region where he took the Third Order habit of Saint Francis, while his wife entered the Order of Poor Clares.

After visiting the holy places in Rome, he went to Sicily and dwelt for forty years in strict penance, sleeping on the bare ground with a stone for pillow, and with dry bread and raw herbs for food. God rewarded his great virtue by the gift of prophecy and the grace of miracles. He died while praying on his knees in 1351, surrounded by a bright light, in the presence of his confessor, who was unaware for some time of his death because of his position. He is invoked especially for the cure of hernias.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2; The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).