Saint Ludger of Utrecht

sandstone sculpture of the Saint Liudger; date and artist unknown; eastern facade of Recker Dionysius youth home, parish church of Saint Dionysius, Recke, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany; photographed in July 2010 by J. H. Janßen; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Apostle of Saxony
  • Ludger of Münster
  • Liudger of….
  • Ludiger of….



Son of Thiadgrim and Liafburg, wealthy Frisian nobles. Brother of Saint Gerburgis and Saint Hildegrin; uncle of Saint Altfried of Münster. Saw Saint Boniface preach in 753, and was greatly moved. Studied at Utrecht, Netherlands under Saint Gregory of Utrecht. Studied three and a half years in England under Blessed Alcuin. Deacon.

Returned to the Netherlands in 773 as a missionary. Sent to Deventer in 775 to restore a chapel destroyed by pagan Saxons, and to recover the relics of Saint Lebwin, who had built the chapel. Taught school at Utrecht. Destroyed pagan idols and places of worship in the areas west of Lauwers Zee after they were Christianized. Ordained in 777 at Cologne, Germany. Missionary to Friesland, mainly around Ostergau and Dokkum, from 777 to 784, returning each fall to Utrecht to teach in the cathedral school. Left the area in 784 when pagan Saxons invaded and expelled all priests.

Pilgrim to Rome, Italy in 785. Met with Pope Adrian I, and the two exchanged counsel. Lived as a Benedictine monk at Monte Cassino, Italy from 785 to 787, but did not take vows. At the request of Charlemagne, he returned to Friesland as a missionary. It was a successful expedition, and he built a monastery in Werden, Germany to serve as a base. Reported to have cured the blindness of, and thus caused the conversion of the blind pagan bard Berulef.

Refused the bishopric of Trier, Germany in 793. Missionary to the Saxons. Built a monastery at Mimigernaford as the center of this missionary work, and served as its abbot. The word monasterium led to the current name of the city that grew up around the house – Münster. Built several small chapels throughout the region. First bishop of Münster in 804, being ordained at Westphalia.

Ludger’s health failed in later years, but he never reduced his work load. No matter how busy or dangerous his outside life, he never neglected his time of prayer and meditation, it being a source of the strength to do everything else. The man’s life can be summed up in two facts –

  • he was reprimanded and denounced only once during his bishopric – for spending more on charity than on church decoration
  • on the day of his death, he celebrated Mass – twice.






MLA Citation

  • “Saint Ludger of Utrecht“. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 November 2021. Web. 1 December 2021. <>