Feast of St. Ludger (March 26)   Leave a comment

St. Ludger’s Abbey (Founded Circa 800 and Rebuilt in the 1600s), Helmstedt, Lower Saxony, Germany

Image Source = Times

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SAINT LUDGER (CIRCA 742-809)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Munster

There was a time when Christianity was young in much of Europe.  Today the faith is fading in many places, but let us take courage.  The Kingdom of God is like a mustard plant, which goes where it will.  The mustard plant is really a glorified weed.  I write this post from northern Georgia, U.S.A., where we have a similarly stubborn plant, kudzu.

The existence of many of the churches, convents, and monasteries, and therefore the good works which people who lived, worked, and worshiped there committed, is due to the good work of many faithful missionaries, bishops, priests, abbots, monks, nuns, and lay people.  Among these faithful souls was St. Ludger, who, while a boy, in 753, met St. Boniface of Mainz, who impressed St. Ludger greatly.

Educated at the Utrecht Cathedral School, where he excelled in his studies, St. Ludger entered the diaconate in 767.  He studied under St. Alcuin of York  for a year then returned to Utrecht and continued his studies there.  The two saints maintained their friendship for years.

In 772, conflict between Frisians and Anglo-Saxons forced St. Ludger to take shelter, along with his precious books, to the abbey at Utrecht, where he remained for three years.  Then St. Ludger traveled to Deventer, in the modern-day Netherlands, to rebuild a church the pagan Saxons had destroyed and to conduct missionary work there.  He succeeded.

Ordained a priest in 777, St. Ludger tended to the missions in East Frisia, in Lower Saxony.  For seven years the saint did this work and returned to Utrecht each Autumn to teach at the cathedral school.  In 784, however, the Frisians expelled the missionaries, burned the churches, and committed apostasy.  The saint entered a brief retirement at the abbey of Monte Cassino, beginning in 785.  After two years of this, however, St. Ludger returned to the territory now called the Netherlands, where he rebuilt the Christian presence.

In 793, St. Ludger declined an offer by Charlemagne to make him Bishop of Trier but accepted the challenge of evangelizing the Saxons.  The building of abbeys was crucial to this work, for they provided many missionaries among the Saxons in what we call Germany today.  He also built many churches and convents, thereby providing firm foundations for the Church in that region for a long time to come.  This missionary work occupied the rest of St. Ludger’s life, including his tenure as Bishop of Munster (805-809).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 25, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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The Collect and Lections for a Missionary, from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), the hymnal and service book of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:

God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant St. Ludger, who made the good news known in Germany and The Netherlands.  Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel, so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love, and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

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Posted January 25, 2011 by neatnik2009 in March, Saints of the 700s, Saints of the 800s

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