Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Judocus, Prince and Hermit

detail of a painting of Jodokus; c.1537 by Meister von Meßkirch; side altar, Saint Martin's Church, Meßkircher, Germany; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint Judocus, greatly celebrated in the seventh century on account of his holiness and the miracles he wrought, was a Royal Prince of Brittany in France. He received his first instructions, according to the custom of the day, in a monastery. He entertained early so strong an aversion to all temporal honors and riches, that he left Brittany, in disguise, with several pilgrims, at a time when his brother intended to give into his hands the government of the kingdom. He went, with his companions, to Paris, whence he wished to retire into a desert to serve the Almighty undisturbed. On the way, he fell in with Haimo, duke of Amiens, who was hunting. Perceiving that the disguised pilgrim was a man of talent, the Duke took him home, promising to have him instructed in theology, and thus prepare him to become a priest, so that he might work more effectually for the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Judocus, by divine inspiration, accepted the offer, and having passed seven years at the court of Haimo, in the study of sacred wisdom and in the exercise of virtue, he was ordained priest. After this, he went with a companion into a forest of Ponthieu, where the duke had a small chapel and a dwelling built for him. There the holy hermit lived an innocent and heavenly life. He fasted daily most severely, and occupied himself with prayer and meditations which he interrupted only to work in order to earn the little food he needed for himself and companion.

He endeavored to conceal himself from the eyes of the world, but God caused him soon to be known by the miracles which he wrought on the infirm. Although his store was but small, he never dismissed a beggar without alms. One day, when all he possessed was one loaf of bread, a poor man came. The Saint cut the loaf into four pieces, and gave the beggar one of them. Soon after another came, to whom J udocus gave the second piece; and when a third beggar appeared who, to judge by his looks, was still more miserable than the two others, the Saint said: “My dear brother, although we have only half a loaf, we will rob ourselves of it and give it to thee to appease thy hunger.” The companion of Judocus became very impatient at these words, and said: “Will you save nothing for us?”Judocus replied: “Give the rest to the poor man; God can send us plenty of food.” No sooner had the beggar received the bread than he suddenly disappeared, and it was soon after revealed to the Saint, that Christ Himself had appeared in the garb of a beggar and asked for some bread. Judocus’ charity was richly rewarded; for, on the same day, there arrived, on the small stream which flowed near the Saint’s dwelling, four boats filled with bread, but without boatmen. Judocus unloaded them with the assistance of his companion, and used the bread as well for himself as for those who came to see him.

Eight years had Judocus passed in this place, when he determined to seek another dwelling, as the people who came daily to see him, disturbed him too much in his devotion. He selected a solitary spot, called Runiac, where he remained fourteen years, and at last left it for the same reason. He then went nearer to the sea into a shady valley. “This shall be my resting-place,” said he, on first beholding it: “here will I live; this place I choose as my dwelling.” He then had a house built there and two small chapels, one dedicated to Saint Paul, the other to Saint Peter. Some time afterwards, he made a pilgrimage to Rome, where the Pope received him with great kindness. Being asked by the Holy Father who he was and whence he came, the holy hermit was obliged to reveal what, until then, he had kept a secret, that he was a royal prince, and that to gain the kingdom of heaven, he had renounced a temporal crown. The Pope was greatly astonished at his words and felt the highest esteem for the Saint. After having passed some time at Rome, Saint Judocus returned to his solitude, as God had revealed to him that his end was near, and that for the temporal kingdom which he had resigned for the love of God, he would soon gain the eternal. The joy which this promise gave him cannot be described. Having returned to his beloved solitude, he lived five months longer in great austerity and holiness, after which time he became sick. having received, with indescribable devotion, the holy sacraments, he gave his soul into the keeping of his Redeemer, who appeared to him, accompanied by a great number of Angels.

To this day a well is shown, which the Saint with his staff caused to spring from the ground in order to refresh duke Haimo, when he was almost dead with thirst.

Practical Considerations

• Saint Judocus renounces a kingdom, retires from the world, goes into a desert and practises good works until his end. Saint Asella despises all temporal goods, lives in her father’s house as in a desert, and also exercises herself in pious deeds until God calls her. The desire more surely to obtain their salvation, was the motive that actuated both of them. In our day, many imagine they can gain heaven as easily by the unrestrained enjoyment of all the luxuries of a sensual life, full of amusements, idleness and comforts, as the Saints, by their austerity and continual good works, provided that otherwise they live respectably. It is true that to save our souls it is not required that we renounce all that is temporal, nor that we live so strictly in solitude as our Saints did; but it is also true that a respectable life alone suffices not to open for us the gates of heaven. Many heretics, Jews, Turks and heathens, live what is called by the world a respectable life: but who can say that therefore they gain heaven? The holy Apostle assures us that we cannot please the Almighty without faith. “Faith,” says Saint Augustine, “is the foundation of all that is good, and the beginning of salvation; without it no one can be numbered among the children of God. Without it no one can justify himself before the Almighty; and without it, no one can possess the life to come.” Faith, the true faith, for none other is valued by God, is the great thing necessary to salvation. Without it, a respectable life is not sufficient to gain entrance into the eternal kingdom. But neither is the true faith enough to save us; it is further necessary that we live strictly in accordance with its precepts; that we observe its laws; avoid sin and practise good works; and that if we have become guilty of sin, we repent of it and do penance. Those who know the Gospel, cannot doubt anything of what I have said. Finally it is necessary that we remain in our faith until the end; in the practice of the laws of our faith; in avoiding sin, and in doing good. If we cease before our death, and leave the path of the true faith and of virtue, we cannot hope to obtain the reward which Christ promised to those only who persevere to the end. All that I have told you now, is eternal truth, according to which you must regulate your life, if you desire to save your soul. Whoever speaks otherwise to you, deceives you: whoever he may be, do not believe him. “If any man comes to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house, nor say to him, God speed you.” (2 John 10) Listen not to those who speak otherwise; do not believe their words.

• Saint Judocus gives to the beggar a single loaf of bread, and God sends him four boats filled with provisions. Even in this life, God sometimes recompenses those who show themselves charitable to the poor. Some fear that it will impoverish them to assist the needy. But the Holy Ghost has long since assured us of the contrary as we read in Holy Writ: “He that gives to the poor shall not want; he that despises his entreaty, shall suffer indigence.” (Proverbs 28) No, he who is charitable to the poor, need not fear that he will lose by it, but he may promise himself, with good reason, God’s special blessing. Hence the holy Fathers compare alms with usury, according to the words of Holy Writ: “He that hath mercy on the poor, lends to the Lord: and He will repay him.” (Proverbs 19) This usury, however, is much more profitable than the usury in which men deal. “In the world,” says Saint Peter Chrysologus, “we practise usury in such a manner that our profit is one on a hundred; but the Almighty receives one from us, (through the poor,) and gives us one hundred in return.” And yet men refuse to negotiate with the Almighty! Perhaps they doubt the security? And why? One man gives another a piece of paper and thus binds himself; and God gives us so many assurances in Holy Writ: how therefore, can we doubt?” I leave you to draw your own conclusions from the above.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Judocus, Prince and Hermit”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 3 June 2018. Web. 15 November 2019. <>