Thursday, February 9, 2012


St. Sulpicius
Born Vatan, France
Died 17 January 646

Feast day: January 17

Sulpicius, also called Sulpice and Pius, was the son of wealthy parents, who renounced the idea of marriage and devoted himself even from his youth to all kinds of good works, and especially to care for the poor. When he became Bishop of Bourges in 624, he fought for the rights of his people against King Dagobert's minister, Lullo. Sulpicius attended the Council of Clichy in 627. He was known for his austerities and holiness, and is reported to have converted all the inhabitants of Bourges to Christianity with his holiness and charity. He resigned his Bishopric late in life to devote himself to the poor. The famous St. Sulpice Seminary in Paris is named after him.

Sulpitius (Sulpicius) the Pious or the D├ębonnaire was a 7th century bishop of Bourges. Born at Vatan (Diocese of Bourges), of noble parents, before the end of the sixth century, Sulpitius devoted himself from his youth to good works, according to his Vita, and to the study of Holy Scripture.

Austregisilus, Bishop of Bourges, ordained him cleric of his church, then deacon, and finally made him director of his episcopal school. Clotaire II, King of the Franks, who had heard his merits spoken of, summoned him and made him chaplain of his armies. But at the death of Bishop Austregisilus 624 he was recalled to Bourges to take his place. Sulpitius thenceforth labored with much zeal and success to re-establish ecclesiastical discipline, for the relief of the poor and the conversion of the Jews.

In 626 Sulpitius assisted at the Council of Clichy and held several others with the bishops of his province, but nothing of them remains. At the request of the same king he consecrated to the See of Cahors his treasurer Didier of Cahors, who was his personal friend, and there are extant three letters which he addressed to him. In the settings of Vita Sulpicii Episcopi Biturgi, Sulpicius' miracles show him receiving "Theudogisilus", a noble from the palatium of the king with entertainments and a "great heaped fire" (extinguished, when it threatened to get out of control, with an outstretched hand); the vita asserts with approval that "he, the holy man gave leave for no-one, neither heretic, gentile or Jew, to live in the city of Bourges without the grace of baptism" with many consequent conversions from the Jews of Bourges.

The Vita tells that Dagobert I sent his representative the merciless general Lollo (Lollonius) to reside at Bourges and bring the city more closely under the king's command; when the people came complaining of their treatment to Sulpicius, he decreed a three-day fast for clergy and laity, but also sent one of his clergy Ebargisilus by name to Clovis II  with a remonstrance that alarmed the young king to the extent that he revoked the census or tax, and returned the assessment, setting a precedent, it was claimed: "Indeed, having been relieved from affliction, those people remain in total liberty up to this present day."

Towards the end of his life Sulpitius took a coadjutor, Vulfolnde,[5] and retired to a monastery which he had founded near Bourges. There he died on 17 January 646, which day several manuscripts of the Hieronymian Martyrology indicate as his feast. The reports of miracles at his tomb in the basilica he had ordered built began soon after his death and the place became a place of pilgrimage.

That place, the basilica, where the memorable man of God is buried, is called Navis, because the port of ships is seen to be there. It is a most lovely place between two rivers with pastures and woods and vineyards in great number, with fields and rivers flowing between huge plains so that there, the inhabitants may be seen to possess the image of paradise.

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