Saint of the Day – 21 June – Saint Ralph of Bourges (Died 866) Archbishop of Bourges. Born as Raoul in Angoumois, France and died on 21 June 866 of natural causes. He is remembered as a skillful diplomat and a proponent of ecclesiastical reform. Also known as Raoul, Radulph, Radulf or Rudolf.
Ralph’s family was prominent in the region of Angoumois, France and he, himself, possessed lands in the Limousin. He was named after his father, the count of Turenne (died 844) and he had four brothers and two sisters.
Making Christ his only inheritance, he took the Monastic habit in 822 at Solignac and was made Archbishop of Bourges in 840. He founded seven Monasteries and was indefatigable in reforming his flock increasing their knowledge of the faith and teaching them to practise it in their lives.
For the direction of his clergy he compiled a book of Canons under the title of Pastoral Instructions.
With Bishop Stodilo of Limoges, Ralph helped found the Monastery of Beaulieu. His family provided the land for the foundation and he, himiself, Consecrated the new community under the Benedictine rule in 860. He granted the Monks the right of free election of their Abbot and pronounced excommunication on any governing authority, who molested them in the future. He even procured royal protection for them. Ralph also helped found the Convent at Cahors, where his sister, Immena, was installed as the first Abbess.
Ralph died at Bourges on 21 June 866 and was buried in the Basilica of Saint Ursinus, see below.