Saint of the Day – 29 December – Saint Ebrulf of Ouche (c 626c -706) Abbot, Hermit. Founder of many Monasteries, Married but separated by mutual agreement, miracle-worker. Born in c 626 in Bayeux, Normandy, France and died in c 706 of natural causes, at the Monastery he had founded. Also known as – Ebrolfo, Ebrulfo, Ebrulfus, Ebrulphus, Evroul, Evroult, éVroult. Additional Memorial – 30 August, in England, where some of his relics are venerated.
Of noble birth, Ebrulf received a careful education and gave proofs of profound virtue.
He became a highly-ranked Official of King Childeric II. Ebrulf was a cup-bearer to the King and an Administrator of the Royal Palace but he desired a life consecrated to God.
It was some time before he was given leave to detach himself from his duties at the Court to become a Monk. As he was married to a woman of his own social rank, the two separated by mutual consent, he to lead a life of greater perfection and she, it is believed, became a Nun.
He joined the Monastery of Deux-Jumeaux (Bayeux) before deciding to become a Hermit at Exmes but there, crowds came to visit him and ask for his advice. He then settled, with some companions, in the forest of Ouche, which was infested with wild beasts and brigands. A legend states, that he converted a robber to Christianity when the robber visited Ebrulf’s the rough settlement which consisted of a hedge enclosure and wattle and daub huts. The robber warned Ebrulf of the dangers of the forest but Ebrulf informed him that he feared no-one. Repenting of his own sins, the robber brought a gift consisting of three loaves baked in ashes and a honeycomb, and asked to be admitted as a Monk.
This settlement became the Abbey of Saint-Evroul. He founded other monastic houses, fifteen in total, all of which placed emphasis on manual labour both as a spiritual and economic exercise. Members of the nobility came to Ebrulf offering him money, land, to build monasteries. He founded, after 560, several Monasteries in the Diocese of Séez; one of them became the important Abbey of St-Martin-de-Séez.
The Saint worked numerous miracles and even raised the dead . In the 12th century John of St-Evroult composed a work in verse in his honour and many miracles were worked at his tomb.
During the Norman invasions, his remains were transported to Orleans. Later, an attempt was made to bring them back to the Abbey of Saint- Ebrulf but without success.
He was venerated in England as a result of the Norman invasion and the link between Ebrulf and England was maintained, by the fact, that four Abbots from Saint-Evroul Abbey ruled English Monasteries in the 11th and 12th Centuries. They brought to England some of Ebrulf’s relics. A Feast commemorating the translation of his relics is kept at Deeping Abbey in England on 30 August.