Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict – Saint Eugendus, Abbot

illustration of Saint Eugendus, Abbot, from the book 'Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict', designed by Father Amandus LiebhaberAgain do we receive from the Monastery on the Jura another Saint for our Calendar. At seven years of age, Saint Eugendus, who was born in a village of Gaul then called Iserndorus, joined the Community that had gathered round Lupicinus and Romanus. As was the usual practice of the monks, the youthful novice was not only trained in virtues and piety, but was also instructed in the Latin and Greek languages in addition to his native tongue. To the study of the Fathers he especially applied himself. Under the rule of Lupicinus he was an apt and docile pupil in watching, in fasting, and in every kind of austerity. His bed was of the hardest; wooden sandals were the only protection for his feet; his cloak, even in winter, was a thin one, and that he did not lay aside till it was in rags, So sparing was he as regards food, that if he breakfasted, he forbade himself dinner, if he dined, he went next day without breakfast. He was most exact in choir, and before choir he was wont for hours to prostrate himself in the cemetery before the tombs of his deceased brethren, repeating the Requiem for their souls.

The Abbot who succeeded Saint Lupicinus, being broken down from labours and age, chose Eugendus to share with him the burden of ruling. A short time before the Abbot died, Eugendus, while lying awake at night, beheld himself being clothed in the Abbot’s robes, while some of the monks, who, as assistants at the ceremony, had lighted the candles, seemed to be knocking them, through jealousy, against the wall. This vision came true. After Eugendus was enthroned Abbot, some of his brethren, murmuring against his rule – he was too simple, they said, had too little knowledge of the world and of the management of affairs – fled from the monastery. They were, however, brought to a better mind by the patience of their Abbot and by the fame of the marvels he achieved.

By means of a letter he drove out from a girl of noble family a devil, which had long resisted all attempts to exorcise it, and he also cured by the same means the girl’s mother, who had been long ailing with a troublesome disease. Magnates, bishops, and nobles kept flocking to the Jura, happy if they could see Eugendus or touch the hem of his garment.

So many of the sick and afflicted thronged to the monastery that its quiet was disturbed. To prevent this, and, at the same time, to restore the health of the suppliants, the Saint used to send them oil with letters written by his own hand, which acted as a sovereign remedy.

Being anxious to obtain some relics of the Apostles, Eugendus sent two of his brethren to Rome for this purpose. They were away two years, and at last succeeded in getting portions of the remains of Saints Peter, Andrew, and Paul. On their return these monks were yet some considerable distance from their monastery, when the Abbot, as he lay asleep under a tree, saw the three Saints appear to him, surrounded by bright rays of light, to warn him of the approach of their relics.

Our Saint, now past his sixtieth year, was confined to his bed, when Lupicinus and Romanus seemed to stand with a bier by his couch. Kissing him, they informed him that his last hour was come. Without delay, he had himself carried into the church, and there, having enjoined on his monks to keep the Rule with the same fidelity as in the past, and having received the Last Sacraments, he peacefully expired.

– text and illustration taken from Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict by Father Aegedius Ranbeck, O.S.B.