Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November 16 - Feast Day of Saint Hugh of Lincoln

To celebrate the feast of Saint Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, here is an excerpt from the Vita which was written shortly after his death by Gerald of Wales. It details St. Hugh's unique friendship with one of God's creatures.
"About the day or the day after Bishop Hugh was welcomed and enthroned at Lincoln, a [new] swan not seen there before flew in at the bishop’s manor near Stow, some eight miles from Lincoln, a place delightfully covered with woods and ponds.... 
"When the bishop first visited there, this royal bird, remarkable in feature as in size, was brought to him in his chamber to marvel at. It had been tamed without difficulty, as if by its own will. Immediately, the bird took and ate bread from his hand and stayed with him so like a pet that for the time being it seemed to have shed all its wildness. It did not shrink from the bishop’s touch nor the approach or the commotion of the crowd standing all around and gaping.... 
"Also wonderful is that only with the bishop was it friendly or at all tractable. Indeed, it would stand beside its lord to defend him against the approach of others, as I have often seen with amazement. It would cry out, threatening with its wings and beak and trumpeting loudly with a high voice in its natural song, as if declaring that it belonged to the bishop and was entrusted to him alone, as a sign."
From the Life of Saint Hugh of Avalon: Bishop of Lincoln 1186-1200
By Gerald of Wales
Translated by Richard Loomis
For more information about this book, or to order a copy, visit The Fontes Mediaevalium Series website.

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