Saint of the Day – 5 February – Saint Bertulph c640-c705) Priest, Abbot, Miracle-worker, Founder of a Monastery in Renty, France. Born in c640 in eastern Europe and died in c705 of natural causes in Renty near Calais, France. Patronage – against storms. Also known as – Berton, Bertou, Bertoul, Bertulf, Bertulphe, Bertulphus. Name means: the shining wolf (old high German). Additional Memorial – 20 May (transfer of Relics).
Bertulph came to Flanders with his pagan parents . Under the influence of St Audomar of Thérouanne, he converted to Christianity, was Baptised and was Ordained a Priest by St Audomar.
He then became steward of the estates of the pious Earl Wambert in Renty, showing generosity to the poor. Envious people accused him of extravagance; his innocence was miraculously confirmed as cheese and bread turned into roast meat and water into wine. Bertulph persuaded his master to found four Churches in the area. Together they made a pilgrimage to the seven pilgrimage Churches in Rome.
During the journey, while Bertulph was tending the horses at night and reading a book, he and his book remained dry despite the heavy rain. An eagle soaring overhead covered him with its wings and a heavenly torchlight shone for him to read. Overwhelmed by such miracles, Wambert made Bertulph his adoptive son.
After Wambert and his wife died, leaving their inheritance to Bertulph, he established a Monastery dedicated to Dionysius on the inherited estates at Renty, which he presided over as Abbot.
To protect Bertulph’s Relics from being desecrated by the invading Normans, they were transferred to Boulogne-sur-Mer in 898. Then they came to the Saint-Sauveur Collegiate Church in Harelbeke in Flanders, finally in 955 to the Saint-Pierre-au-Mont-Blandin Monastery in Ghent, where they were destroyed in the Reformation in 1578. The Monastery at Renty later became a Cistercian Monastery, demoted to priory in 1168 and dissolved in 1668.