St. Godfrey of Amiens (Feast: November 8)
Godfrey was born about the year 1065 in Soissons, France. When he was only five years old, he was placed in the care of his godfather, the abbot of the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Quentin. Here he grew up and, in due course, became a monk and was ordained to the priesthood.
In 1096 he was made the abbot of Nogent-sous-Coucy, a dilapidated abbey in the province of Champagne, where the community numbered a mere half a dozen monks who had become very lax in their discipline.
He rebuilt, restored and revitalized the abbey. Under Godfrey’s direction, monastic discipline and order were restored and the community began to flourish. News of his success spread and Godfrey was urged to accept the position of superior of the renowned Abbey of Saint-Remi. This he refused, saying “God forbid I should ever desert a poor bride by preferring a rich one!”
In 1097, Godfrey was offered the archbishopric of Rheims. This he likewise refused, counting himself as unworthy of this new honor as the previously-offered one.
When, in 1104, he was offered the bishopric of Amiens and once more refused the ecclesiastical dignity, he was ordered by the papal prelate to accept it.
A zealous reformer, as Bishop of Amiens, his strict discipline and rigid austerity – first with himself and then with those under his charge – his insistence upon clerical celibacy and his unrelenting struggle against drunkenness and simony, aroused bitter opposition among the lax clergy and even caused attempts upon his life. Godfrey ardently desired to resign and retire as a Carthusian monk during this time, nevertheless, he persevered.
Finally, in 1114, he withdrew to the Grand-Chartreuse but, within a few months, the demands of his people won out and he was ordered by a Council held at Soissons and by King Philip himself to return to his diocese. Resigned to the will of God, Godfrey returned to his episcopal see.
While on his way to visit his metropolitan in 1115, Godfrey died at the Abbey of Saint-Crépin near Soissons. He was buried at the abbey and his tomb became renowned for the many miracles wrought there.
SAINT OF THE DAY
Here we discover something akin to the “Secret of Mary,” of which Saint Louis de Montfort speaks.