Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 17 January – Saint Sulpicius of Bourges (Died c 647)

Saint of the Day – 17 January – Saint Sulpicius of Bourges (Died c 647) Bishop, miracle-worker, apostle of the poor – born in the 7th century as Sulpicius le Debonnaire in France and died in c 647 of natural causes. Also known as – St Sulpicius the Pious, Pius of Bourges, Sulpice of Bourges.

According to his Vita, Sulpitius was born at a place in Vatan in the Diocese of Bourges, of noble parents, before the end of the sixth century. From his youth he devoted himself to good works and to the study of Scripture and donated his large patrimony to the Church and the poor.

Austregisilus, Bishop of Bourges, ordained him cleric of his Church, then Deacon, Priest and finally made him director of his Episcopal school. Clotaire II (King of the Franks from 613 to 629), who had heard of his merits, summoned him and made him almoner and Chaplain of his armies. Upon the death of Bishop Austregisilus (. 624) Sulpicious was recalled to Bourges to succeed him. Thenceforth he laboured with much zeal and success to re-establish ecclesiastical discipline, for the relief of the poor.

In 626 Sulpitius attended the Council of Clichy and held several others with the Bishops of his See. St Desiderius of Cahors, treasurer to King Clothar II and later Bishop of Cahors, was his personal friend – three letters survive which St Sulpicius addressed to him. In the settings of Vita Sulpicii Episcopi Biturgi, Sulpicius’ miracles show him receiving “Theudogisilus,, a noble from the palatium of the king with entertainments and a “great heaped fire” (in a fireplace in the centre of the great hall, the smoke issuing through a vent in the roof). Sulpitius allegedly extinguished this fire, when it threatened to get out of control, with an outstretched hand. The Vita asserts with approval that “he, the holy man gave leave for no-one, neither heretic, gentile or Jew, to live in the city of Bourges without the grace of Baptism” – with many consequent conversions from the Jews of Bourges.

The Vita tells that Dagobert I sent his representative the merciless general Lollo (Lollonius) to reside at Bourges and to bring the city more closely under the King’s command. Sulpitius intervened with King Dagobert on behalf of his flock, of whom a too heavy tax was exacted. When the people came complaining of their treatment to Sulpicius, he decreed a three-day fast for clergy and laity but also sent one of his clergy, Ebargisilus by name, to the King.

Towards the end of his life, Sulpitius took a co-adjutor, Vulfolnde and retired to a Monastery which he had founded near Bourges. There he died on 17 January 647, which day several manuscripts of the Hieronymian Martyrology indicate as his feast. The reports of miracles at his tomb in the Basilica he had ordered built, began soon after his death and the place became a place of pilgrimage.

That place, where Sulpicius had the Basilica built and where the memorable man of God is buried, is called Navis, because the port of ships is seen to be there. It is a most lovely place between two rivers with pastures and woods and vineyards in great number, with fields and rivers flowing between huge plains so that there, the inhabitants may be seen to possess the image of paradise.

In his honour the Church of Saint-Sulpice was built in Paris, from which the Society of Saint-Sulpice ( is a society of apostolic life of Pontifical Right for Priests) derives its name.

Saint-Sulpice in Paris

Bourges seems to be blessed by the sanctity of a number of Saints – remember, on just a few days ago, on 10 January, we venerated the life of St William of Bourges –


Notre Dame d’Esperance de Pontmain / Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain (1871) and Memorials of the Saints – 17 January

Notre Dame d’Esperance de Pontmain / Our Lady of Hope, Our Lady of Pontmain (1871) – 17 January:

During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops approached the town of Pontmain, France and the villagers there prayed for protection. On the evening of 17 January 1871, Mary appeared in the sky for several minutes over the town. She wore a dark blue dress covered in stars, carried a crucifix and below her were the words – “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.” That night the German army was ordered to withdraw and an armistice ending the war was signed eleven days later on 28 January.
In May 1872, Bishop Wicart authorized the construction of a Sanctuary, which was consecrated in October 1900. In 1905 Pope Pius X elevated the Sanctuary to the status of a Basilica – The Basilica of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain.
Pope Pius XI gave a final decision regarding the mass and office in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. A final papal honour was given to Our Lady of Hope on 16 July 1932 by Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, by passing a decree from the Chapter of St Peter’s Basilica, that the Statue of the Blessed Lady, Mother of Hope, be solemnly honoured with the crown of gold. The Lady then was crowned in the presence of Archbishop, Bishops, Priests and the laity by Cardinal Verdier, Archbishop of Paris. The coronation took place on 24 July 1934.
At Pontmain, it was a matter of a message of prayer, very simple in the dramatic circumstances of war and invasion. At Pontmain, Mary is a sign of hope in the midst of war. A place of pilgrimage, it attracts annually around 200,000 drawn from among the people of the region, with some international pilgrimages, especially from Germany.

It was in the winter of 1871 in the village of Pontmain, France, Eugene Barbedette was busy in his father’s barn helping prepare the animal feed. He stood briefly in the open doorway, admiring the beautiful evening. Suddenly the gaze of the 12 year old was held there, for opposite the barn and in a framework of stars, stood a beautiful lady – motionless – smiling at him.
“Do you see anything?” he shouted to the others, “Look, over there!”
“Yes,” cried his brother Joseph, “a beautiful lady dressed in a blue robe with golden stars, yes and blue shoes with golden buckles…and, she has a golden crown which is getting bigger and a black veil.”
Since the father did not see her, he told the boys to get on with their work; then curiously, he asked, “Eugene, do you still see anything?”
“Yes, she’s still there,” the boy answered and ran to fetch his mother; she saw nothing but with a woman’s intuition, she thought it might be the Blessed Virgin and assembling the family gently, all prayed five Paters and Aves in honour of the Mother of God. She called for a nun at the convent next door, who brought her two little charges with her, the latter, Francoise and Jean Marie, reaching the door of the barn, called out, “Oh, look at that lovely lady with the golden stars!” and clapped their hands with delight.
The news spread quickly, people gathered, with them the Cure, M Guerin. The Magnificat was intoned and Eugene shouted, “Look what she is doing!”
Slowly a great white streamer unfolded and in large letters they read: “Pray, my children, God will answer your prayers very soon. He will not allow you to be touched.”

The Cure then intoned the hymn: “My Sweet Jesus…” At that a red cross with the wounded body of Christ appeared before the Virgin, who held it. At the top in large red letters was written, “Jesus Christ.”
The crowd burst into tears, while the Cure ordered night prayers to be said; a white veil hid the vision, while our Lady smiled at the children, a smile which haunted them all through life with its beauty. Something of the sorrow of farewell was depicted on the faces of Eugene and Joseph, for the cure said quickly, “Can you still see anything?”
“No, it is quite finished,” they answered.

At the moment the message was being written in the sky, a messenger passing in front of the crowd had shouted, “You may well pray, the Russians are at Laval.” But they never entered it.
On the 17th of January, at six o’clock at night, the very hour the Virgin appeared to the children of Pontmain, the division of soldiers, without apparent reason, received the order to retire.
On the 28th of January, the armistice was signed at Versailles. After long and searching inquiry, Mgr. Wicart, the Bishop of Laval, proclaimed the authenticity of the vision and at the very spot where Our Lady had appeared, a cHURCH was erected in honour of Our Lady of Hope of Pontmain. There the Queen of Heaven receives her countless children and gives them fresh hope in their trials, as she gave France peace in her hour of need.
The Basilica is a magnificent structure in the 13th century style and one may still see the barn where Eugene and Joseph worked when Mary appeared.

This window is in the Basilica

St Anthony Abbot (251-356) (Memorial)
St Anthony’s Life:

St Achillas of Sketis
St Amoes of Sketis
St Antony of Rome
Bl Euphemia Domitilla
Bl Gamelbert of Michaelsbuch
St Genitus
St Genulfus
St Jenaro Sánchez Delgadillo
St John of Rome
Bl Joseph of Freising
St Julian Sabas the Elder
St Marcellus of Die
St Merulus of Rome
St Mildgytha
St Nennius
St Neosnadia
St Pior
St Richimir

Blessed Rosalina of Villeneuve O.Cart. (1263–1329)

St Sabinus of Piacenza
St Sulpicius of Bourges (Died c 647) Bishop
Blessed Teresio Olivelli (1916–1945) Martyr
His Life and Death:
Martyrs of Langres: Eleusippus, Leonilla, Meleusippus, Speusippus