Saint of the Day – 14 August – Saint Werenfridus OSB (Died c 780) Priest, Confessor, Monk, Missionary in Frisia. Born in England and died in c 780 at Arnheim, Netherlands. Patronages – against gout, against arthritis and stiff joints, of vegetable gardeners, of Arnheim, Netherlands, Elst, Netherlands and Westervoort, Netherlands. Additionl Memorials in different parts of the Netherlands – 27 August and 8 November. Also known as – Werenfrid, Werenfried.
Werenfried (Latinised – Werenfridus) means: – “keep the peace.”
The name is made up of two Germanic words:
weer (meaning to keep) and fried (meaning peace).
Werenfridus was an Englishman by birth and was probably born in the kingdom of Northumbria. He forsook country and friends, to dedicate himself wholly to the service of God and his fellow creatures. He went to Ireland, where he served God in solitude and recollection. He is said to have been one of those twelve apostolic men belonging to the English nation, who were destined for a missionary career.
With their leader St Willebrord, these were sent out of Ireland by St. Egbert. They were destined to carry the word of life to the Frisons, Saxons and other pagans in the German territories. . The exact time of St. Werenfridus arrival there, is not known. He was one of those Gospel preachers, however, to whom the Netherlanders are indebted for their Christian teaching. About St Willibrord – https://anastpaul.com/2018/11/07/saint-of-the-day-7-november-st-willibrord-c-658-739-apostle-to-the-frisians/
He particularly planted the faith and Church of Christ in the Isle of Batavia or Betuwe. He likewise converted the inhabitants of Medemblik, Durostadt, Elst, and Westerwort. His admirable virtues were very remarkable. And as he planted the Faith, so too he planted vegetables and taught others to do so too – hence his patronage of vegetable gardeners.
The writer of his Acts assures us, that it was impossible to express how rich he was in all good works and how careful he had been in administering comfort to the afflicted. He was incomparable for his kindness while he was an exemplar of charity towards the poor. He was assiduous in his watching, and rigorous in his fasting. He was diligent in prayer and he excelled in all devotion. In fine, he was conspicuous for all virtues. Great success attended his labours in gaining souls to Christ.
In a good old age, he received the reward of his labour. He departed some time around 780. Because the inhabitants of Elst and Westervoort could not agree on where he should be buried, they decided that he should decide for himself and so his coffin was placed in a boat that was washed down the Rhine and came to rest in Elst, where it was interred. The Overbetuwe municipal Coat of Arms depicts this event, see below. There formerly stood a collegiate Church dedicated to God in his name. This was much frequented, because miracles were often wrought within it by the Saint’s intercession.
The body of Saint Werenfridus remained in Elst until the time of the Reformation. It was feared that the body would be destroyed or removed by the Protestants. Therefore, he was transferred in 1664 to the Jesuit Church in Emmerich, which is located in Germany.
St. Werenfridus Feast is kept as a Double in the Diocese of Utrecht, on the 27th day of August. The 14th was the day of his decease, however, according to the best accounts. There are many Churches sprinkled around Holland and Germany dedicated to him.