St. Adalhardus

From Butler's Lives of the Saints 1895:

Pronounced ALARD.[1]

THE birth of this holy monk was most illustrious, his father Bernard
being son of Charles Martel, and brother of king Pepin, so that Adalard
was cousin-german to Charlemagne, by whom he was called in his youth to
the court, and created count of his palace. A fear of offending God made
him tremble at the sight of the dangers of forfeiting his grace, with
which he was surrounded, and of the disorders which reigned in the
world. Lest he should be engaged to entangle his conscience, by seeming
to approve of things which he thought would endanger his salvation, he
determined to forsake at once both the court and the world. His
sacrifice was the more perfect and edifying, as he was endowed with the
greatest personal accomplishments of mind and body for the world, and in
the flower of his age; for he was only twenty years old, when, in 773,
he took the monastic habit at Corbie in Picardy, a monastery that had
been founded by queen Bathildes, in 662. After he had passed a year in
the fervent exercises of his novitiate, he made his vows; the first
employment assigned him in the monastery was that of gardener, in which,
while his hands were employed in the business of his calling, his
thoughts were on God and heavenly things. Out of humility, and a desire
of closer retirement, he obtained leave to be removed to mount Cassino,
where he hoped he should be concealed from the world; but his eminent
qualifications, and the great example of his virtue, betrayed and
defeated all the projects of his humility, and did not suffer him to
live long unknown; he was brought back to Corbie, and some years after
chosen abbot. Being obliged by Charlemagne often to attend at court, he
appeared there as the first among the king's counsellors, as he is
styled by Hincmar,[2] who had seen him there in 796. He was compelled by
Charlemagne {078} entirely to quit his monastery, and take upon him the
charge of chief minister to that prince's eldest son Pepin, who, at his
death at Milan in 810, appointed the saint tutor to his son Bernard,
then but twelve years of age. In this exalted and distracting station,
Adalard appeared even in council recollected and attentive to God, and
from his employments would hasten to his chamber, or the chapel, there
to plunge his heart in the centre of its happiness. During the time of
his prayers, tears usually flowed from his eyes in great abundance,
especially on considering his own miseries, and his distance from God.
The emperor recalled him from Milan, and deputed him to pope Leo III. to
assist at the discussion of certain difficulties started relating to the
clause inserted in the creed, concerning the procession of the Holy
Ghost from the Father and the Son. Charlemagne died in 814, on the 28th
of January, having associated his son, Lewis le Debonnaire, in the
empire in the foregoing September. While our saint lived in his
monastery, dead to the world, intent only on heavenly things,
instructing the ignorant, and feeding the poor, on whom he always
exhausted his whole revenue, Lewis declared his son, Lothaire, his
partner and successor in the empire, in 817: Bernard, who looked upon
that dignity as his right, his father Pepin having been eldest brother
to Lewis, rebelled, but lost both his kingdom and his life. Lewis was
prevailed upon, by certain flatterers, to suspect our saint to have been
no enemy to Bernard's pretensions, and banished him to a monastery,
situated in the little island Heri, called afterwards Hermoutier, and
St. Philebert's, on the coast of Aquitain. The saint's brother Wala (one
of the greatest men of that age, as appears from his curious life,
published by Mabillon) he obliged to become a monk at Lerins. His sister
Gondrada he confined in the monastery of the Holy Cross, at Poitiers;
and left only his other sister Theodrada, who was a nun, at liberty in
her convent at Soissons. This exile St. Adalard regarded as his gain,
and in it his tranquillity and gladness of soul met with no
interruptions. The emperor at length was made sensible of his innocence,
and, after five years' banishment, called him to his court towards the
close of the year 821; and, by the greatest honors and favors,
endeavored to make amends for the injustice he had done him. Adalard
(whose soul, fixed wholly on God, was raised above all earthly things)
was the same person in prosperity and adversity, in the palace as in the
cell, and in every station: the distinguishing parts of his character
were, an extraordinary gift of compunction and tears, the most tender
charity for all men, and an undaunted zeal for the relief and protection
of all the distressed. In 823, he obtained leave to return to the
government of his abbey of Corbie, where he with joy frequently took
upon himself the most humbling and mortifying employments of the house.
By his solicitude, earnest endeavors, and powerful example, his
spiritual children grew daily in fervor and divine love; and such was
his zeal for their continual advancement, that he passed no week without
speaking to every one of them in particular, and no day without
exhorting them all in general, by pathetic and instructive discourses.
The inhabitants of the country round his monastery had also a share in
his pious labors, and he exhausted on the poor the revenue of his
monastery, and whatever other temporal goods came to his hands, with a
profusion which many condemned as excessive, but which heaven, on urgent
occasions, sometimes approved by sensible miracles. The good old man
would receive advice from the meanest of his monks, with an astonishing
humility; when entreated by any to moderate his austerities, he
frequently answered, "I will take care of your servant, that he may
serve you the longer;" meaning himself. Several hospitals were erected
by him. During his banishment, another Adalard, who governed the
monastery by his appointment, began, upon our saint's project, to {079}
prepare the foundation of the monastery of New Corbie, vulgarly called
Corwey, in the diocese of Paderborn, nine leagues from that city, upon
the Weser, that it might be a nursery of evangelical laborers, to the
conversion and instruction of the northern nations. St. Adalard, after
his return to Corbie, completed this great undertaking in 822, for which
he went twice thither, and made a long stay, to settle the discipline of
his colony. Corwey is an imperial abbey; its territory reaches from the
bishopric of Paderborn to the duchy of Brunswick, and the abbot is one
of the eleven abbots, who sit with twenty-one bishops, in the imperial
diet at Ratisbon: but the chief glory of this house is derived from the
learning and zeal of St. Anscharius, and many others, who erected
illustrious trophies of religion in many barbarous countries. To
perpetuate the regularity which he established in his two monasteries,
he compiled a book of statutes for their use, of which considerable
fragments are extant:[3] for the direction of courtiers in their whole
conduct, he wrote an excellent book, On the Order of the Court; of which
work we have only the large extracts, which Hincmar has inserted in his
Instructions of king Carloman, the master-piece of that prelate's
writings, for which he is indebted to our saint. A treatise on the
Paschal Moon, and other works of St. Adalard, are lost. By those which
we have, also by his disciples, St. Paschasius Radbertus, St.
Anscharius, and others, and by the testimony of the former in his life,
it is clear that our saint was an elegant and zealous promoter of
literature in his monasteries: the same author assures us, that he was
well skilled, and instructed the people not only in the Latin, but also
in the Tudesque and vulgar French languages.[4] St. Adalard, for his
eminent learning, and extraordinary spirit of prayer and compunction,
was styled the Austin, the Antony, and the Jeremy of his age. Alcuin, in
a letter addressed to him under the name of Antony, calls him his
son;[5] whence many infer that he had been scholar to that great man.
St. Adalard was returned out of Germany to Old Corbie, when he fell sick
three days before Christmas: he received extreme unction some days
after, which was administered by Hildemar, bishop of Beauvais, who had
formerly been his disciple; the viaticum he received on the day after
the feast of our Lord's circumcision, about seven o'clock in the
morning, and expired the same day about three in the afternoon, in the
year 827, of his age seventy-three. Upon proof of several miracles, by
virtue of a commission granted by pope John XIX. (called by some XX.)
the body of the saint was enshrined, and translated with great solemnity
in 1040; of which ceremony we have a particular history written by St.
Gerard, who also composed an office in his honor, in gratitude for
having been cured of a violent headache through his intercession: the
same author relates seven other miracles performed by the same means.[6]
The relics of St. Adalard, except a small portion given to the abbey of
Chelles, are still preserved at Corbie, in a rich shrine and two smaller
cases. His name has never been inserted in the Roman Martyrology, though
he is honored as principal patron in many parish churches, and by
several towns on the banks of the Rhine and in the Low Countries. See
his life, compiled with accuracy, in a very florid pathetic style, by
way of panegyric, by his disciple Paschasius Radbertus, {080} extant in
Bollandus, and more correctly in Mabillon, (Act. Ben. t. 5, p. 306, also
the same abridged in a more historical style, by St. Gerard, first monk
of Corbie, afterwards first abbot of Seauve-majeur in Guienne, founder
by William, duke of Aquitain and count of Poitiers, in 1080. The history
of the translation of the saint's body, with an account of eight
miracles by the same St. Gerard, is also given us by Bollandus.)

1. It was usual among the ancient French, to add to certain words,
syllables, or letters which they did not pronounce; as Chrodobert,
or Rigobert, for Robert: Cloves for Louis; Clothaire for Lotharie,
2. Hinc. l. Inst. Regis, c. 12.
3. Published by D'Achery, Spicil. tom. 4, p. 1, 20.
4. From this testimony it is clear, that the French language, used by
the common people, had then so much deviated from the Latin as to be
esteemed a different tongue; which is also evident from Nithard, an
officer in the army of Lewis le Debonnaire, who, in his history of
the divisions between the sons of Lewis le Debonnaire, (published
among the French historians by du Chesne,) gives us the original act
of the agreement between the two brothers, Charles the Bald, and
Lewis of Germany, at Strasburg, in 842.
5. Alcuin, Ep. 107.
6. St. Gerard, of Seauve-majeur, died on the 5th of April, 1095, and
was canonized by C[oe]lestine III. in 1197. See his life, with an
account of the foundation of his monastery, in Mabillon, Acts,
Sanctorum ad S. Benedict. t. 9, p. 841.

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July 30, 2014

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

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Mt 13:44-46


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First Reading:: Jer 15: 10, 16-21
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Mt 13:44-46


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