St. Hugh of Grenoble (Feast: April 1)
Hugh was born in Châteauneuf-sur-Isère in France. His father had served with honor in the army. Remarkable for his manly piety and the example he gave to his men of purity and honesty, his ardor for the glory of God made him fearless in the face of vice. Later in life, this man of honor embraced the religious state, became a Carthusian monk under St. Bruno and received, on his deathbed, Holy Viaticum from the hands of his son.
His son is said to have been academically brilliant, tall of stature and by nature very bashful; his courtesy and modesty easily won hearts. Despite not having received holy orders, Hugh was chosen Canon of the Cathedral of Valence.
One person who came to appreciate Hugh’s solid qualities was the bishop of Die, another Hugh, who attached him to his household, and soon entrusted young Hugh with difficult tasks, which he carried out very capably.
At twenty-seven, Hugh accompanied Bishop Hugh to a synod in Avignon convened to deal with, among other matters, disorders that had crept into the vacant episcopal see of Grenoble. The council and the delegates seemed to have chosen Hugh as the one man capable of reforming these disorders. Unanimously elected, the young cleric, although deeply shocked, reluctantly submitted.
He was presently ordained and consecrated and went on to vigorously, and successfully, reform his diocese, curtailing both clerical and lay abuses and implementing wholesome practices – though his success was apparent to all but himself. After two years, Hugh begged the Holy Father, St. Gregory VII, to allow him to retire to a monastery, which he did for a short while only to be summoned before the pontiff.
On hearing Hugh’s protestations, and assurances of personal shortcomings, the Pope replied: “Granted, son, you can’t do anything; but you are a bishop and the sacrament can do everything.”
He humbly obeyed and led his diocese for fifty-two years accomplishing marvels, though his painful character, headaches and stomach troubles were a constant cross of which he never complained.
He loved and consistently served his people. In a time of famine, he sold church property in order to feed the hungry. Inspired by his example, the noble and wealthy did the same with their possessions to relieve those in distress.
His love of the monastic life led him to give St. Bruno the piece of land on which the latter built the Grande Chartreuse. There, Bishop Hugh would retire from time to time to refresh his spirit, tending to linger – at which St. Bruno would gently and respectfully remind him of his ecclesiastical duties.
Hugh of Grenoble died on April 1, 1132 just short of eighty years of age. He was canonized by Pope Innocent II a mere two years later.
DAILY QUOTE for April 8, 2020
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Julie Billiart
He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.