Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict – Saint Theodoric, Bishop

illustration of Saint Theodoric, Bishop, from the book 'Saints of the Order of Saint Benedict', designed by Father Amandus LiebhaberSaint Theodoric was born in a camp, and as a child he delighted in horses, and in all things connected with them, but from his youth he had also a great enjoyment in prayer, and he refused to mix in the vicious pleasures so prevalent among boys of his age. While still quite young, he would shut himself up in the house, or go to the churches constantly to pray, and as he grew older he manifested a hatred for fine clothes and delicate food, begging that all such things which were offered to him might be given to the poor. His parents rejoiced to see in him such a taste for poverty, silence and solitude, and they were not surprised when, as soon as he reached manhood, he desired to enter the religious life. Saint Theodoric applied to his uncle Rainald, who was the head of a neighbouring monastery, by whom he was gladly welcomed, and under whose kind care he passed his novitiate. He soon gained so much renown by the austerity and the holiness of his life, that when the See of Aurelia1 became vacant, it was the desire of all the people and of the King that Saint Theodoric should be appointed to it. A legation was accordingly sent to the Monastery to fetch the Saint, in order that he might be installed into his new dignity, but the malice of an ambitious rival interfered. This rival, whose name was Odalric, had hired a number of thieves to set upon the new Prelate on his way to the church. But the Lord testified to the innocence of His servant. Theodoric was led with great pomp to the cathedral, where the solemnity of his consecration took place, and the wicked men, who with Odalric, were lying in wait for him, found themselves so overwhelmed by a sudden fear, that they could not raise a hand against him. The new Prelate reached his Episcopal Palace in safety, where a great feast was held to celebrate the joyful event. But Odalric, in the meantime, was bitterly reproaching the ruffians whom he had hired, for their cowardice in having missed their late opportunity to attack the Saint. One day, when the needs of his diocese called him to a long distance from home, as he was riding alone, some way in advance of his companions, these wicked men came upon him and attacked him ferociously with swords and spears until he fell covered with wounds. When the rest of his companions came up to him they found the Saint waking up, as if from sleep, while no trace of any injury was to be found upon his body. When Odalric beheld this miracle, he and his wicked band came and cast themselves at the feet of the holy Bishop and implored his pardon, and he freely forgave his persecutors and prayed for them. After ruling his diocese with great piety and care for many years, Theodoric retired to the solitude of his monastery where, in a vision, the Lord promised soon to give him his crown. He died shortly after this vision, in the year 1021.

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