Saint Venantius Fortunatus

Saint Venantius FortunatusAlso known as

  • Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus



Born to a pagan family, Venantius converted to Christianity when still quite young. He grew up in Aquileia, Italy, and studied grammar, rhetoric, and law at Ravenna, Italy. While a student he became nearly blind, but recovered his sight by anointing his eyes with oil from a lamp that burned before the altar of Saint Martin of Tours. In gratitude to Saint Martin, he made a pilgrimage to Tours via the area of modern Germany, making the journey from about 565 to 567. In Tours he became a close friend of the bishop. Lived in the Loire Valley for while, then settled near Poitiers, France. During his travels he often paid for his supper by reciting poetry, singing, or making up rhymes on the spot. From 567 to 587 he counseled a local community of nuns on matters spiritual and financial. Priest. Advisor and secretary of Queen Saint Radegunde, wife of King Clotaire I. Bishop of Poitiers c.600.

A wanderer up to then, when Venantius became a bishop he became a model of temperance and stability, and was known for his love of food and friends and joy. He wrote hymns, essays, funeral elegies, homilies, and metrical lives of the saints including Saint Martin of Tours (which runs to 2,243 hexameter lines), Saint Hilary of Poitiers, Saint Germanus of Paris, Saint Albinus of Angers, Saint Paternus of Avranches, Saint Marcellus of Paris, and Saint Radegunde. His poetry and songs often concerned daily life and work and people and politics, and have become a valuable resource for historians of the era. He is considered the last of the Gallic Latin poets, and one of the first Christian poets to write works devoted to Mary.




Additional Information


MLA Citation

  • “Saint Venantius Fortunatus“. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 August 2020. Web. 9 December 2021. <>