Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Lupus, Bishop of Troyes

detail of a statue of Saint Loup of Troyes; date and artist unknown; front door of the Church of Saint Loup, Chalons-en-Champagne, France; photographed on 16 September 2012 by G. Garitan; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint Lupus was bom in Lotharingia or Lorraine, not far from Metz. Having early lost his father, an uncle of his charged himself with his education. Arrived at manhood, he married a sister of the holy bishop Saint Hilary; but, with her consent, left her after seven years, as both had resolved, in future, to serve God more perfectly in retirement from the world. Hence Lupus repaired to the famous monastery at Lerins, which, in his time, was celebrated above all others on account of its discipline. He remained there one year, eagerly striving after spiritual perfection; then went to Macon, sold his estate and gave the money to the poor. Just at that time, the episcopal See of Troyes became vacant, and a worthy successor to the late Prelate was sought for. Lupus had already gained such high repute for his virtues and remarkable learning, that the Clergy who had to choose the new bishop, hesitated not to offer him the See. He received it, humbly recognizing in the election the divine Will, and hoping to be thus able to work more effectually for the salvation of souls. This pious hope was not deceived. He preached daily to those in his charge, and instructed them with great solicitude in the true faith, and in the manner of leading a pious life; by which means he converted many hardened sinners, strengthened those whose faith was weak, and animated others to be more zealous in the service of the Most High. The example of his holy life gave power and persuasion to his sermons and instructions. He occupied the greater part of the night in devotional exercises, and the few hours that he gave to sleep were not passed in a soft bed, but upon hard boards. He fasted almost daily, sometimes touched no food for several successive days; and continually wore a rough hair-shirt. The poor, the sick and prisoners received almost his entire income.

The temporal and spiritual welfare of his flock was his only pleasure, his only thought, and he guarded and watched over them like a true Shepherd and Apostle. God, however, soon sent him an opportunity to manifest his zeal in other regions.

In England, there was, in those days, a certain heretic, named Pelagius, who disseminated his doctrines everywhere, without fear or shame, and the bishops were not able to oppose him with sufficient force. Hence they wrote to the bishops of France, to send some men who could assist them in withstanding this more and more wide-spreading heresy, and to strengthen the Catholics in their faith. Saint Lupus and Saint Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, were chosen by the bishops of France for this holy work, and after the Pope had approved of the choice, both set out upon their journey, animated with great hope. A terrible storm which they encountered on sea, endangered the lives of all on board; but when Saint Lupus poured a few drops of the sacred oil he had with him upon the foaming waves, the sea became suddenly as calm as a lake, and the holy men arrived safely in England. They immediately began their pious labor,. confuted with great energy the heretical doctrines, strengthened the Catholics in their faith, and restored the former peace to the Church. Most of the heretics renounced their error, others secretly left the country. Some of them, however, sought to protect themselves; by arms and called upon the Saxons to help them. This savage people came very willingly, made an inroad into the land and caused great damage by plunder and devastation. The two holy bishops, Lupus and Germanus, assembled all the Catholics, and having filled them with courage and fortitude, marched at their head against the raging enemy, attacked them fearlessly, with the repeated cry: “Hallelujah!” and thus drove them out of the land at last. After this glorious victory over the enemy of the true faith, the holy bishops made such regulations as were necessary for the preservation and protection of the Catholic Church, and then returned to France to their own Sees.

Lupus labored with his accustomed zeal in his sacred functions; but he and his flock were, after a few years, visited with great trials. Attila, the celebrated King of the Huns, had invaded France with an immense army, devastating the country, wherever he went, with fire and sword. He came to Troyes, and Saint Lupus, seeing that human aid was powerless, turned to God, and sought His help by prayers and austere penances, exhorting his flock to follow his example. When informed that Attila was approaching the city, he clothed himself in his Episcopal robes, and, accompanied by the Clergy and a great many citizens, went to meet him before the gates of the city. “Who art thou?” he said to him with fearless dignity; “who art thou, who so barbarously rages in cities and country, devastating so many kingdoms, and laying them in dust and ashes, while endeavoring to subject them to thee?” The King answered: “I am Attila, the King of the Huns, the scourge of God.” “Come on, then,” said the Saint; “if you art the scourge of God, who will be able to oppose thee? Welcome, scourge of the Almighty! Raise thyself above us and lash us as much and as long as God will permit thee!” Having thus spoken, he opened the gate of the city, and invited him to enter. But the savage heart of Attila was suddenly changed; he spared the city and requested the bishop to accompany him to the Rhine. This miraculous deliverance of the city from entire destruction won for the holy bishop the greatest esteem of all the inhabitants of the land. His flock added to the love they had always borne him the deepest veneration, and regarding him as their deliverer, knew not how to express their gratitude. After having for fifty-two years administered his pastoral functions with holy zeal, he was called, by a happy death, to. receive his eternal reward.

Practical Considerations

• Attila, the tyrant, who devastated France, called himself, “the scourge of God.” God made use of this scourge to punish the iniquities of men. In our times, also, the Almighty uses different scourges to punish us. Such are, diseases, poverty, divers miseries, misfortunes and persecutions. With these God not only punishes sinners to move them to repentance, but also the pious, in order that they may gather more merits for eternity. Do you feel the lashes of such a scourge? Turn to your God who directs the strokes, and submitting to Him, say with David: “I am ready for scourges!” (Psalm 37) It is a good sign if the Almighty scourges you in this world, as you may thus escape the lashes with which the Divine justice ceaselessly punishes the wicked in the other world. Pray that He may spare you these. Say in the words of Saint Augustine: “Lord, in this world, bum and cut; but have mercy on me in eternity.”

• Saint Lupus administered his see fifty-two years, constantly laboring for the spiritual welfare of his flock; after this time, he was called to receive his eternal reward. Attila, the tyrant, reigned, according to some authors, forty-four years, made his name renowned and feared in the world, by causing bloody wars and destruction; and was then called by a sudden death into everlasting punishment. He was suffocated in his own blood on the night of his wedding-day. Consider attentively the word, “Eternal.” The labors of Saint Lupus ended, but the reward which they gained him from God has no end. He has enjoyed his recompense already more than a thousand years, much longer than his labor lasted, and will be in the possession of it longer than another thousand years, for it will never be taken from him. The reward is Eternal! The reign of Attila, his wars, his cruelties, his spoils, his honors and enjoyments; all have ended, but his punishment in hell is endless. It has lasted already longer than a thousand years, will still last longer than another thousand years; for, it will never end. The punishment is Eternal! With whom do you wish to be in eternity? Most assuredly not with the unhappy Attila, but with Saint Lupus. If this is your desire, work unweariedly for your salvation. You may not have fifty-two years before you – perhaps not as many months. But if you had still more time, if you had a thousand years to labor, what difference would it make? The reward would still last immeasurably longer. “Consider and compare the work or misery, and the glory or recompense;” says Saint Peter Damian. “Compare the moment which flies, with Eternity; that which is trifling with that which is of importance. The work thou hast to perform, the trials you hast to suffer, are momentary; but the glory awaiting thee in heaven is Eternal. Small and trifling is that which you must suffer; great and important that which awaits thee.” From the life of Saint James learn: First, that pious people and Saints thought bathing, as it is done in our time by the young, and often also by grown persons, immodest and punishable. What am I saying? Only the pious and Saints? Nay, even the heathens detested and punished it. They declared that those who indulged in it, had lost all modesty. How does a Christian reply to this, of whom Saint Paul requires before all things, modesty or retirement, when he says: “Let ycwr modesty be known to all men.” (Philippians 4) Does anyone dare to say that, being exposed as those generally are who bathe is not sinful? Will any one pretend to say, that it is not sinful when we wantonly place ourselves in danger of death? The same danger threatens those who think they understand swimming perfectly; for it has become a proverb, “the best swimmers drown in the water.” We hear yearly, that here and there people are drowned while bathing. What can we think of the death of such persons? Can we reasonably suppose that it is a happy one? Those may believe so who like, but I cannot be convinced of it. I should fear to be condemned for all eternity, if I should die such a death. Whoever desires to die happily, must avoid all such wantonness. Those who have the charge of young people are obliged to prevent them from it and to punish them accordingly, if they have indulged in such dangerous pastime. Modest eyes will not even look at such impudence, or rather, at such wickedness, but will endeavor to prevent it as an offence to God. Secondly, learn how powerful are the prayers of a Saint, and what benefit they may bring to a whole city. Thirdly, learn to praise the omnipotence of the Most High. By small, despicable insects, He put to flight a large army with weapons and shields. How easily can He cast you, weak, poor, miserable worm of the earth, to the ground – yes, even into hell? Dare you offend so mighty a God? Dare you refuse due obedience to Him, and disregard His commands? Have you not just reason to fear Him? “What is more to be feared,” asks Saint Bernard, “than a power which you cannot withstand, a wisdom from which nothing is concealed? If the Lord did not possess one of these, you would have less reason to fear Him. But since He has an eye that sees all, a hand able to do all things, you may well fear Him.”

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Lupus, Bishop of Troyes”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 March 2018. Web. 20 November 2018. <>