Today is the feast day of Saint Claude. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Claude (Claudius) was born at Salins in the early seventh century. He was recognized from his youth as having a lively mind, a solid judgment and great docility. He read with devotion the sacred books, the lives of the Martyrs and holy Confessors, and the sermons of the Doctors of the Church, all of which were then far more frequently found in the hands of the faithful. He spent many hours praying in the church and attended Mass daily; he was careful to avoid any places which could be a danger for his faith, and took pleasure in frequenting pious persons who could give solid nourishment to his soul. (1)
At the age of 20 he became a member of the cathedral chapter of Besançon, where he remained for twelve years, following the examples of the archbishop, Saint Donatian. Afterwards he retired to the monastery of Condat or Saint Oyend, where he became Abbot at the age of 37, in 644; and under his government many Saints were formed. (1)
Such was the sanctity of his life, and his zeal in conducting his monks in the paths of evangelical perfection, that he deserved to be compared to the Antonines and Pachomiuses, and his monastery to those of ancient Egypt. Manual labor, silence, prayer, reading of pious books, especially the Holy Bible, fasting, watching, humility, obedience, poverty, mortification, and the close union of their hearts with God, made up the whole occupation of these fervent servants of God. (2)
When he was eighty-six years of age, he retired once more to the monastery of Saint Oyend, of which he had always retained the title of Abbot, and where he then remained in authority as its head for several more years. Such was the sanctity of his life and his zeal in conducting his monks in the paths of evangelical perfection, that he was compared to the great abbots of Egypt, Saint Anthony and Saint Pachomius, and his monastery, to those of ancient Egypt. Manual labor, silence, prayer, reading of pious books, especially the Holy Bible; fasting, watching, humility, obedience, poverty, mortification, and the close union of their hearts with God made up the whole occupation of these fervent servants of God. These virtues were the rich patrimony which Saint Claude left to his disciples. (1)
Saint Claude died in 699 at the age of ninety-two, and his body was found intact in the 12th century. Since then pilgrimages and miracles have abounded at his tomb, placed in the monastery where he died, which afterwards bore his name. His feast has been celebrated since the end of the 15th century. (1)
Image: Stained glass window representing Saint Claude (Claude/Claudius of Besançon, d. 699 AD. (4)