Saint of the Day – 2 January – Saint Adelard of Corbie (c 751 – 827) Monk, Abbot, Apostle of the poor and needy, Court administrator, Counsellor to Charlemagne – born in c 751 snf died on 2 January 827 at Corbie Abbey, Picardy, France following a brief illness. Also known as Adalard, Adalhard, Adelhard, Adalardus, Adelardus, Alard, Alardus, Adalardo. Patronages – against fever, against typhoid, of gardeners, of many Churches and Towns in France and along the lower Rhine.
Adelard (752-827) was the grandson of Charles Martel, nephew of King Pepin and first cousin to Charlemagne. Adalard received a good education in the Palatine School at the Court of Charlemagne in Aachen and while still very young was made Count of the Palace. He became a Monk, at the age of 20, at Corbie in Picardy in 773. He attempted to embrace a more eremitical life at Monte Cassino but was ordered back to Corbie by Charlemagne. Eventually, he was chosen Abbot and became Charlemagne’s counsellor.
He was forced by the King to leave the Monastery and work for him as chief minister for his son Pepin. At his death in Milan in 810, King Pepin appointed Adelard tutor to his son Bernard of Italy, then but twelve years of age.
He was accused of supporting a rival power (Bernard) against Emperor Louis the Debonair and was banished to a Monastery on the island of Heri. Five years later he was recalled to the King’s court (821). Several hospitals were erected by him. In 822 Adalard and his brother Wala founded Corvey Abbey (“New Corbie”) in Westphalia, Germany.
He later retired to the Abbey at Corbie and died on 2 January after an illness, thought today to have been typhoid.
Miracles were reported after his death. When Adelard first became Monk at Corby in Picardy (in 773), his first assignment was gardener of the Monastery. He did his job humbly and piously, praying throughout the day. His great virtues eventually helped him become Abbot but also, forced him into secular posts at the order of the King.
Saint Adelard was Canonised by Pope John XIX in 1026.
With the above description in mind, it will not be much of a surprise that Adelard became the patron saint of gardeners. In addition, he became known as the patron of sufferers of fevers and typhoid.