St. Ludger

Image may contain: 2 people

St. Ludger, Bishop of Munster, Apostle of Saxony

A.D. 809.

ST. LUDGER was born in Friseland, about the year 743. His father, who was a nobleman of the first rank in that country, at the child’s own request, committed him very young to the care of St. Gregory, the disciple of St. Boniface, and his successor in the government of the see of Utrecht. Ludger had the happiness to have seen that holy martyr, and received from him strong impressions of virtue. Gregory educated him in his monastery, and admiring his progress in learning and piety, gave him the clerical tonsure. Ludger, desirous of further improvement, passed over into England, and spent four years and a half under Alcuin, who was rector of a famous school at York. He was careful to employ his whole time in the exercises of piety, and the study of the holy scriptures and fathers. In 773, he returned home, and St. Gregory dying in 776, his successor, Alberic, compelled our saint to receive the holy order of priesthood, and employed him for several years in preaching the word of God in Friseland, where he converted great numbers, both among the Pagans and vicious Christians, founded several monasteries, and built many churches. This was the state of affairs, when the pagan Saxons, ravaging the country obliged him to leave Friseland. Whereupon he travelled to Rome to consult Pope Adrian II. what course to take, and what he thought God required of him. He then retired for three years and a half to Mount Cassino, where he wore the habit of the Order, and conformed to the practice of the rule during his stay, but made no religious vows. In 787, Charlemagne overcame the Saxons and conquered Friseland, and the coast of the Germanic ocean as far as Denmark. Ludger hearing that by this revolution the mission was again opened, returned into east-Friseland, where he converted the Saxons to the faith; as he also did the province of Sudergou, now called Westphalia. He founded the monastery of Werden, 1 in the county of La Mark, twenty-nine miles from Cologne. His old master Alcuin being come into France, made his merit known to the Emperor Charlemagne. In 802, Hildebald, archbishop of Cologne, not regarding his strenuous resistance, ordained him bishop of Mimigardeford, (or ford of the river Mimigard,) a city which afterwards changed this name for that of Munster, from the great monastery of regular canons which St. Ludger built there, to serve for his cathedral. He joined to his diocess five cantons of Friseland which he had converted, and also founded the monastery of Helmstad, afterwards called Ludger-Clooster, or Ludger’s cloister, in the duchy of Brunswick. 1 Continue reading