Golden Legend – Life of Saint Mammertin

Here beginneth the Life of Saint Mammertin, and first of the interpretation of his name.

Mammertin is said of mamma, which is as much to say as a pap, and of tine, that is to say taste, for like as taste that falleth from the pap into the mouth of the child, and is first nature of blood, and after it is converted into the sweetness of milk, in like wise was he nourished, first in blood, that is to say in sin, and after, he converted himself anon into the pap of his heart in the sweetness of God.

Of Saint Mammertin.

Mammertin was first a paynim and worshipped idols, and it happed on a time he lost his one eye and his hand was dried up. And he supposed that he had angered his gods, and went towards the temple for to adore the idols; and there met him on the way a religious man named Savien, which demanded of him how this infirmity happed to come to him, and he said: I have angered my gods, and therefore I go adore them, to the end that if they be angry they may become debonair to me. To whom he answered: Brother, thou errest, for thou weenest that the devils be gods, but go unto Saint Germain, bishop of Auxerre, and if thou wilt believe his counsel thou shalt be whole anon. Then anon he took his way to go thither, and went to the sepulture of Saint Amadour, bishop, and of moo other saints; and because of the great rain that fell that night, he went into the cell which was set on the tomb of Saint Concord. And as he slept he saw a marvellous vision. Him thought there came a man to the door of the cell and called Saint Concord, and said that he should come to the feast that Saint Amadour and Saint Peregrine and other saints made, and he answered again out of the tomb that he might not now come, for his guest whom he must keep, for the serpents that were there would else slay him. And he went and told to the others what he had said, and anon he returned again, and said: Holy Saint Concord, arise and come, and bring with thee Vivian the deacon and Vivian the sub-deacon for to do their office, and Alexander shall keep thy guest. Then it seemed to Mammertin that Saint Concord took him by the hand and led him with him. And when Saint Amadour saw him he demanded of him: Who is this that is come with thee? And he said: It is my guest. And he said: Put him out, for he is all foul and may not be here with us. And when he should be put out, he kneeled tofore them, and gat grace of Saint Amadour, which commanded him to go to Saint Germain. Then he awoke and came to Saint Germain, and kneeled tofore him and required pardon, and told to him all that was happed. And they went then together to the tomb of Saint Concord, and lifted up the stone and saw many serpents, which were ten foot long, and would have flown away, but Saint Germain commanded that they should go into such a place there as they should neither grieve ne hurt man. And then Mammertin was baptized, and was made all whole, and was made a monk in the monastery of the blessed Saint Germain, and was abbot after Saint Elodien.

And in his time Saint Marine was there, a monk whose obedience Saint Mammertin would prove, and committed him to keep the foulest office of the monastery, and made him herdman of the oxen and kine in an isle that was there, but he was of so great holiness that wild birds came to him and were nourished of his hands, and he delivered a wild boar from the hounds and let him go his way. There came thieves and robbed him, on a time, of all that he had, and took away all his clothes save a mantle. And when they were gone he called them again and said: Return and come again for I have founden here a penny in my mantle, peradventure it is necessary to you, which anon returned and took away the mantle with the penny and left him naked. And then as they went hastily towards their withdraught and secret places, they went all that night, and in the morning they found them at his cell, whom he saluted and received them benignly, and washed their feet, and ministered to them such as he had; then they were astonished and repented them, and each of them was converted to the faith.

On a time young monks that dwelled with S.Mammertin had set snares for to take a bear which was accustomed to eat their sheep. And the bear fell in the snare and was taken, which Saint Mammertin Iying in his bed knew, and arose out of his bed, and finding him in the snare, said: What dost thou here, thou wretch? flee hence lest thou be taken, and loosed him and let him go.

And when this holy man was dead and his body was borne to Angiers, as they came by a town, they might not remove him thence in no manner, unto the time that a man that was there in prison came out suddenly and brake his two bonds, and ran freely to the corpse and helped to bear it into the city, where it is buried honourably in the church of Saint Germain in much great reverence.