Saint of the Day – 29 March – St Eustasius of Luxeuil (c560–c626) the Second Abbot of Luxeuil Monastery, (after its Founder, St Columbanus) Missionary and Founder of another Monastery in Bavaria, Miracle-worker, Disciple of St Columban. Patronages – against blindness and eye diseases, of all illness and sick people. Also know in Francen as Eustace.
The Roman Martyrology reads today: “In the Monastery of Luxeuil, the decease of the Abbot, St Eustasius, a disciple of St Columban, who had under his guidance, nearly six hundred Monks. Eminent in sanctity, he was also renowned for miracles.”
Eustasius was born in Burgundy and became a Monk at Luxeuil Monastery. When Columbanus, the Founder of Luxeuil, was banished from the Kingdom of Burgundy, on account of his reproving the morals of King Theuderic II, he recommended his community choose Eustasius as his successor. At the time, Eustasius was head of the Monastery School, which under his direction, had established and renowned reputation for learning, devotions and excellence. St Columbanus travelled to Italy and settled in Bobbio, founding a new Monastery there. After the death of Theuderic, Clothaire II sent Eustasius to Bobbio in Italy, to ask St Columbanus to return but the exiled Abbot declined.
Under the administration of Eustasius, the Monastery flourished and acquired renown as a seat of learning and sanctity. Through the royal patronage, its benefices and lands were increased, King Clotaire II devoting a yearly sum, from his own revenues, towards its support. Eustasius and his Monks devoted themselves to preaching in remote districts, not yet evangelised, chiefly in the north-eastern extremities of Gaul. Their missionary work extended even to Bavaria. Between the Monasteries of Luxeuil in France and that of Bobbio in Italy (both founded by Columbanus), connection and intercourse seem to have long been maintained,
During his Abbacy, the Monastery increased in vocations and contained about 600 Monks and produced both Bishops and Saints, including the Saints Acarius, Amatus, Audomar and Romaric. Eustasius was noted for his humility, continual prayer, and fasting. Eustasius undertook great missionary journeys to the Variscans on the river Doubs and as far as Bavaria. Around 625 he founded a Monastery on the island of Herrenchiemsee in southern Bavaria. He was succeeded as Abbott by St Waldebert.
Eustasius cured St Sadalberga, the Duke of Alsace’s daughter, of blindness. Upon returning from Bavaria, her father, Gundoin, Duke of Alsace, provided hospitality to the Abbot on his travels. Duke Gundoin and his wife brought two of their sons for the Abbot’s blessing but were hesitant to present the blind child. Through the prayers of Eustasius. the child was cured of her blindness. He also cured for St Burgundofara from a deadly illness and assisted her escape from marriage. With Eustasiu’ support and the approval of Bishop Gundoald of Meaux, Burgundofara established an Abbey on her father’s lands and became its first Abbess.