Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Sigismund, King of Burgundy, Martyr

painting of Saint Sigismund of Burgundy, 1360s, by Theodoric of PragueArticle

Wonderful is the providence of God in the means by which he preserves his elect from the contagion of vice, and conducts them to eternal life. This saint was son of Gondebald, the Arian king of the Burgundians; but embraced the Catholic faith through the instructions of Saint Alcimus Avitus, bishop of Vienne. He succeeded to the kingdom of his father in 516, and in the midst of barbarism lived humble, mortified, penitent, devout, and charitable, even on the throne; a station in which the very name of true virtue is too often scarcely known. Before the death of his father, he built the famous monastery of Saint Maurice at Agaune, in the Valais, in the year 515, where many holy hermits lived before that time in scattered cells. God permitted this good prince to fall into a snare. He suffered his son Sigeric to be put to death, upon an accusation forged by his second wife, of a conspiracy against his life: but afterwards discovering the calumny, and pierced to the quick with remorse, he retired to Agaune, where he did penance in tears and sack-cloth. He made it his prayer to God that he might be punished in this life, to escape the divine vengeance in the next.—His prayer was heard:—for being taken prisoner by Chlodomir, the barbarous king of the Franks, he was, by his order, drowned in a well at Columelle, four leagues from Orleans, after he had reigned one year. His body was kept honourably at Agaune, till it was removed to the cathedral of Prague by the emperor Charles IV. It has been famous for many miracles.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Sigismund, King of Burgundy, Martyr”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 10 August 2018. Web. 19 January 2019. <>