Monday, November 18, 2013

November 17

FEAST OF ST. HUGH, BISHOP OF LINCOLN. Born in Burgundy in the year 1140; died in London, 1200.

HAVING passed through a grave and pious childhood, Hugh, at the age of nineteen, visited the Grande Chartreuse, near Grenoble, and became enamoured of its spiritual beauty enshrined amid marvellous natural beauties of the Alps. Assuming there the Carthusian habit, he spent ten years under that austere but congenial rule. Then Henry II. of England summoned him to govern a Carthusian Priory at Witham: he obeyed, and by kindly virtues won the love of his new neighbors.

In 1186 he was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln: in which character he withstood or rebuked first Henry II., afterwards Richard Coeur de Lion, earning the nickname of Hammer-King by his intrepidity.

He died during the reign of King John, having returned from an embassy of peace with which that monarch had charged him to Philip Augustus of France.

Humility, sweetness, courage,--virtues not always combined--were united in St. Hugh.

At Witham he was pleased himself to carry stones and knead mortar for building-work.

At Lincoln he made friends with a swan which frequented his Palace moat; he fed it, and was habitually greeted by it.

Concerning him, Richard Coeur de Lion is reported to have said: "If all the Bishops in my realm were like that man, kings and princes would be powerless against them."

By our saint's own command his deathbed was made on the floor, being composed of ashes strewn in the form of a cross.

But after his death, we read how "his body was embalmed, and conveyed with great pomp to Lincoln, where it was met by king John of England and king William of Scotland. . . . The two kings put their shoulders under the bier as it was carried into the church."

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