Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Jodoc, or Josse, Confessor

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

Those Britons who, flying from the swords of the English-Saxons, settled in Armorica in Gaul, upon the ruins of the Roman empire in those parts, formed themselves into a little state on that coast till they were obliged to receive the laws of the French. Judicaël, commonly called Giguel, eldest son of Juthael, became king of Brittany about the year 630. This prince soon after renounced this perishable crown to labour more securely for the acquisition of an incorruptible one, and retired into the monastery of Saint Meen, in the diocess of Saint Malo, where he lived in so great sanctity as to be honoured after his death with the title of the Blessed Judicaël. When he resigned the crown he offered it to his younger brother Jodoc, called by the French Josse. But Jodoc had the same inclinations with his eldest brother. However, to consult the divine will, he shut himself up for eight days in the monastery of Lanmamiont, in which had been brought up, and prayed night and day with many tears that God would direct him to undertake what was most agreeable to him and most conducive to his divine honour and his own sanctification. He put an end to his deliberation by receiving the clerical tonsure at the hands of the Bishop of Avranches, and joined a company of eleven pilgrims who purposed to go to Rome. They went first to Paris, and thence into Picardy in 636, where Jodoc was prevailed upon by Haymo, duke of Ponthieu, to fix upon an estate of his, which was a sufficient distance from his own country, and secure from the honours which there waited for him. Being promoted to priest’s orders, he served the duke’s chapel seven years; then retired with one only disciple named Vurmare, into a woody solitude at Ray, where he found a small spot of ground proper for tillage, watered by the river Authie. The duke built them a chapel and cells, in which the hermits lived, gaining by the tillage of this land their slender subsistence and an overplus for the poor. Their exercises were austere penance, prayer, and contemplation. After eight years thus spent here they removed to Runiac, now called Villers-saint-Josse, near the mouth of the river Canche, where they built a chapel of wood in honour of Saint Martin. In this place they continued the same manner of life for thirteen years; when Jodoc having been bit by an adder, they again changed their quarters, the good duke, who continued their constant protector, having built them an hermitage, with two chapels of wood, in honour of Saints Peter and Paul. The servants of God kept constant inclosure, except that, out of devotion to the prince of the apostles, and to the holy martyrs, they made a penitential pilgrimage to Rome in 665. At their return to Runiac they found their hermitage enlarged and adorned, and a beautiful church of stone, which the good duke had erected in memory of Saint Martin, and on which he settled a competent estate. The duke met them in person on the road, and conducted them to their habitation. Jodoc finished here his penitential course in 669, and was honoured by miracles both before and after his death. Winoc and Arnoc, two nephews of the saint, inherited his hermitage, which became a famous monastery, and was one of those which Charlemagne first bestowed on Alcuin in 792. It stands near the sea, in the diocess of Amiens, follows the Order of Saint Bennet, and the abbot enjoys the privileges of count. It is called Saint Josse-sur-mer. Saint Jodoc is mentioned on this day in the Roman Martyrology. See the life of this saint written in the eighth century; Cave thinks about the year 710. It is published with learned notes by Mabillon.

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saint Jodoc, or Josse, Confessor”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 August 2017. Web. 29 November 2021. <>