20 Mar Saint Wulfran, Bishop
Today is the feast day of Saint Wulfran. Ora pro nobis.
Saint Wulfran (Wulfram) was born at Milly near Fontainebleau, probably during the reign of Clovis II (638-56); died 20 March, before 704, in which year a translation of his body took place (Duchesne, “Fastes épiscopaux de l’ancienne Gaule”, II, Paris, 1900, 413). His father Fulbert stood high in the esteem of Dagobert I and Clovis II. (2)
Wulfran spent some years in the court of King Clotaire III and his mother, Saint Bathildes; but he occupied his heart only with God, despising worldly greatness as empty and dangerous, and daily advancing in virtue. He renounced the world and received sacred orders; his estate he bestowed on the Abbey of Fontenelle, or Saint Wandrille, in Normandy. He was nonetheless called to the court, where he served until his father died. Then, because the archbishop of Sens also had recently died, he was chosen in 682 to replace him, by the common consent of the clergy and people of that city. (1)
He governed that diocese for two and a half years, with great zeal and sanctity. It was a tender compassion for the blindness of the idolaters of Friesland, and the example of the zealous English preachers in those parts, which moved him then to resign his bishopric, with proper advice, and after a retreat at Fontenelle to enter Friesland as a poor missionary priest.
On the voyage by water, the deacon who served him at the altar, accidentally dropped the paten into the sea. Saint Wulfran told him to place his hand where it had fallen on the waves, and it came up to him by a miracle. For long years that paten was conserved in the monastery of Saint Wandrille. On this mission he baptized great multitudes, among them a son of their King, Radbod, and drew the people away from the barbarous custom of sacrificing human beings to idols. (1)
Saint Wulfran, after praying, also miraculously rescued a poor widow’s two children, seven and five years old, from being drowned in honor of the idols; he walked out across the water in the sight of all the people, to take their hands and bring them back to land. The religion of Christ began to take root in this pagan land, and many were converted by these prodigies. He retired to Fontenelle that he might prepare himself for death, and expired in peace there on the 20th of March, 720. (1)
Image: Saint-Vulfran, dans la collégiale d’Abbeville (3)
Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff