Saint of the Day – 11 October – Saint Gummarus (717-774) Lay Hermit, Confessor, Soldier, Courtier, Married. Born in 717 at Brabant, Belgium and died in 774 of natural causes. Patronages – childless people, courtiers, cowherds, difficult marriages, glove makers, hernia sufferers, separated spouses, woodcutters. Also known as – Gommarus of Lier, Gomer, Gommaire, Guntmar, Gummar, Gommar.
Gummarus was a native of a noble family of Emblehem, referring to an area including Lier and not just the Town of Emblem, in Brabant and a relative of King Pepin the Younger, who called him to his Court and entrusted him with important offices. The King arranged a marriage between Gummarus and a wealthy noblewoman named Guinmarie, who was extravagant and haughty. His wife appears to have been shrewish, as well as abusive to their household servants in his absence. They had no children.
Gummarus accompanied Pepin on a number of military campaigns and spent eight years in the field. Upon his return from military campaigns, Gummarus tried to reconcile with his wife and remedy the injustices she had laid upon the people in their service. That he might have a place of quiet and retirement and in order to attend his private devotions, he built a Chapel called Nivesdunc.
Gummarus and his wife eventually separated. He became a Hermit at Nivesdunc and the Town of Lier, Belgium grew up around the site of the hermitage and where, with Saint Rumbold of Mechelen he founded an Abbey. Gummarus died at his Abbey in 774. In 815 he was recognised as a Saint.
The site of his hermitage is now St Peter’s Chapel. The Church of St Gummarus was built in Brabant in 1378. Every year on the first Sunday after 11 October, the City of Lier, holds the St Gummarus Fair, which includes a procession in which the Saint’s relics are carried through the streets of Lier.