Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict – Saint Lupicinus, Abbot and Hermit

illustration of Saint Lupicinus, Abbot and Hermit, from the book 'Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict', designed by Father Amandus LiebhaberThe parents of Saint Lupicinus, who were of noble family, after having had their son educated in a manner befitting his position, selected for him a bride, his equal in youth, riches, and rank. Marriage was hateful to Lupicinus, as he desired to devote himself to God. In spite of his prayers and tears, he had to submit to the parental command. However, by using a separate chamber, he most carefully guarded the chastity of himself and of his young spouse. In time his parents might have suspected the continence of our Saint, but their death prevented this, and gave him the opportunity of embracing the life of a hermit. Parting with his wife, he retired with his brother Romanus to the Jura Mountains. There amid the wild forests they built themselves a rude hut; careless as regards what concerned the appetite, they lived on the roots of herbs. Their whole time was given to prayer, watching, mortification, and tears for their own sins and the sins of others.

The patient endurance of all the hardships of the anchorite life by youths so tenderly brought up excited the anger of Satan. Even attack that the art of the Evil One could devise was made on them, for a long time without success; but at last, when their bodies were bruised and bleeding from the blows of the emissaries of Hell, and when their hut was destroyed, they lost heart, thinking that Heaven did not deem them worthy to be hermits. As they were on their way back to the world, they sought and received shelter in a cottage, in which dwelt a widow. After their wants were supplied, she, noticing their emaciation, asked who they were and what was their condition. In reply they concealed nothing; they told her all about their family, their attempt to live as hermits, and their defeat by the Powers of Evil. The woman reproached them with running away when the battle had only begun. Her words gave them new courage to endure everything for the love of Christ. They retraced their steps and renewed the conflict. Their patience came forth victorious from the most terrible trials, and, at last, the Almighty commanded Satan to molest them no further.

Persons in spiritual troubles began to visit the brothers, and, in many cases, were so influenced by their sanctity and their good advice, that they followed their example and became hermits. These grew in time so numerous, that for their accommodation a second monastery had to be added to the first, and a third to the second. Lupicinus ruled the three houses. In them there was no care for aught but Heaven.

As the bleak and barren mountain did not produce enough of food for his brethren, the Abbot, with humble prayers, besought the Almighty to give help to His famishing servants. Nor were his prayers unheeded. From Above came the command to dig the ground. Scarcely had Lupicinus begun, when he unearthed a treasure, which was sufficient for their wants for many years. As time went on, this was exhausted, and again famine threatened. Then the Abbot sought aid from Chilperic, the ruler of Burgundy. This prince, moved by the misery of the holy men, offered farms, gardens, vineyards from the royal domains, but the aged Abbot would only accept as much corn yearly as would enable them to support life.

Having secured the future support of his monks, Saint Lupicinus returned home, where soon afterwards he was called to receive the reward of his labours and sufferings. His death occurred about A.D. 600.

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