Saint of the Day – 18 April – Blessed Idesbald of Our Lady of the Dunes O.Cist (c 1095-1167) Cistercian Priest and Abbot of Ten Duinen Abbey, Our Lady of the Dunes from 1155 until his death, Widower. Born in c 1095 in Flanders, Belgium and died in 1167 of natural causes. Patronages – against fever, against rheumatism, against gout, sailors, shrimp fishers, polder farmers, Flemnish nobility, Sint-Idesbald, Belgium.
The Roman Martyrology states: “In Bruges in Flanders, in today’s Belgium, Blessed Idesbaldo, Abbot, who, soon became a widower and exercised for another thirty years, duties in the palace of the Counts, entered the Monastery of Dune at a mature age, which he held holy, as the third Abbot for twelve years.”
As a youth Idesbald was a Courtier and Page to the Count of Flanders. It is believed that he proceeded from the noble family of Van der Gracht, lords of Moorsel.
He had married but was widowed shortly thereafter. In 1135 he was Ordained a Priest and Canon at Veurne, Belgium. In 1150, after 15 years of pastoral service, Idesbald became a Cistercian Monk at the Abbey of Our Lady of the Dunes serving as Abbot with a great reputation for holinessm from 1155 to his death in 1167.
Idesbald was buried in the Abbey in a lead coffin. In 1577, a confederacy of Dutch protestants, plundered the Abbey, and the Monks transported Idesbald’s relics to an outlying Monastic property at Bogaerde.On 13 November 1623, his coffin was opened in the presence of several witnesses so that the relics could be inspected and authenticated – Idesbald’s body was found to be incorrupt. For many days, his body was exposed for the veneration of the faithful, who came en masse, including well known Spanish ecclesiatics as well as the Papal Nuncio many miracles took place on that occasion and his cult was extended more and more.
Again, in 1796, Idesbald’s body was transported to safety from Bruges where he was, to save him from the French Revolutionary troops and finally, in 1830 he was placed in the Chapel associated with the Abbey of Our Lady of the Potteries at the Abbey, where he still is today.
His cult was approved in 1894 by decree of the Diocese of Bruges. On 23 June 1894, Pope Leo XIII confirmed his cultus by an official Beatification.