Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict – Saint Maurus, Abbot, and First Founder of the Order in France

illustration of Saint Maurus, Abbot, and First Founder of the Order in France, from the book 'Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict', designed by Father Amandus LiebhaberSaint Maurus, who was of noble birth, was placed when only a child under the care of Saint Benedict, at Subiaco, where, even in his extreme youth, he shared the austere life of his holy father, nor did he shirk the mortifications, or even miss the nocturnal offices in the choir. So strictly did he fast, that during Lent he would only take food twice a week. When obliged by extreme fatigue to take some rest, he would only sleep for a short time, wrapped in his hair shirt. His obedience was so perfect that when, like Saint Peter, he was sent by Saint Benedict to walk on the water to save Placidus, he at once obeyed, and brought him safely to land.

At this time Saint Benedict was earnestly entreated to send some Monks to Gaul, to establish a Monastery of his Order in that country; and no one could be better fitted for such an enterprise than Saint Maurus. He was accordingly appointed Abbot of the new community, which established itself at Glanfeuil, and from this seed first planted by the Saint, no less than a hundred and sixty monasteries of the Order soon sprang up in Gaul. What Saint Benedict was to Italy, Saint Maurus was to France. His Monastery was resorted to by the great ones of the earth, who eagerly sought his counsel, and the holiness of his life was attested by the innumerable miracles which he wrought. When he drew near to the end of his most blessed life, he ordered his children to lay him at the foot of the altar in the church of Saint Martin, where, lying on sackcloth and clad in his hair shirt, he earnestly and lovingly exhorted his disciples to observe most exactly the regulations contained in the Rule of Saint Benedict. He died on January 15th in the year 543.

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