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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume I: January. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

February 21

SS. German, Abbot of Granfel, and Randaut, or Randoald, Martyrs

        From their acts, written by the priest Babolen in the same age, in Bollandus, Le Cointe, ad an. 662. Bulteau, Hist. Mon. d’Occid. l. 3. c. 44. p. 661.

About the Year 666.

ST. GERMAN, or GERMANUS, was son of a rich senator of Triers, and brought up from the cradle under the care of Modoald, bishop of Triers. At seventeen years of age, he gave all he could dispose of to the poor, and with Modoald’s consent applied himself to St. Arnoul, who having resigned his dignities of bishop of Metz, and minister of state under Dagobert, then led an eremitical life in a desert in Lorrain, near Romberg, or Remiremont. That great saint, charmed with the innocence and fervour of the tender young nobleman, received him in the most affectionate manner, and gave him the monastic tonsure. Under such a master the holy youth made great progress in a spiritual life, and after some time, having engaged a younger brother, called Numerian, to forsake the world, he went with him to Romberg, or the monastery of St. Romaric, a prince of royal blood, who, resigning the first dignity and rank which he enjoyed in the court of King Theobert, had founded in his own castle, in concert with his friend St. Arnoul, a double house, one larger for nuns, the other less for monks; both known since under the name of Remiremont, situated on a part of Mount Vosge. St. Romaric died in 653, and is named in the Roman Martyrology on the 8th of December, on which his festival is kept at Remiremont, and that of the Blessed Virgin deferred to the day following. He settled here the rule of Luxeu, or of St. Columban. 1 St. German made the practices of all manner of humiliations, penance, and religion, the object of his earnest ambition, and out of a desire of greater spiritual advancement, after some time passed with his brother to the monastery of Luxeu, then governed by the holy abbot, St. Walbert. Duke Gondo, one of the principal lords of Alsace, having founded a monastery in the diocess of Basil, called the Great Valley, in German, Granfel, and now more commonly Munsther-thal, or the Monastery of the valley. St. Walbert appointed St. German abbot of the colony which he settled there. Afterwards the two monasteries of Ursiein, commonly called St. Ursitz, and of St. Paul Zu-Werd, or of the island, were also put under his direction, though he usually resided at Granfel. Catihe, called also Boniface, who succeeded Gondo in the duchy, inherited no share of his charity and religion, and oppressed both the monks and poor inhabitants with daily acts of violence and arbitrary tyranny. The holy abbot bore all private injuries in silence, but often pleaded the cause of the poor. The duke had thrown the magistrates of several villages into prison, and many ways distressed the other inhabitants, laying waste their lands at pleasure, and destroying all the fruits of their toil, and all the means of their poor subsistence. As he was one day ravaging their lands and plundering their houses at the head of a troop of soldiers, St. German went out to meet him, to entreat him to spare a distressed and innocent people. The duke listened to his remonstrances and promised to desist; but whilst the saint staid to offer up his prayers in the church of St. Maurice, the soldiers fell again to killing, burning and plundering: and whilst St. German was on his road to return to Granfel, with his companion Randoald, commonly called Randaut, they first stripped them, and then, whilst they were at their prayers, pierced them both with lances, about the year 666. Their relics were deposited at Granfel, and were exposed in a rich shrine till the change of religion, since which time the canonries, into which this monastery was converted, are removed to Telsberg, or Delmont.
Note 1. Remiremont was destroyed in the tenth century by the Hungarians or New Huns, but rebuilt in the reign of Lewis III. in the plain beyond the Moselle, at the bottom of the mountain, where a town is formed. It has been, if not from its restoration, at least for several centuries, a noble collegiate church for canonesses, who make proof of nobility for two hundred years, but can marry if they resign their prebends; except the abbess, who makes solemn religious vows. [back]