Home  »  Volume II: February  »  St. Licinius, Bishop of Angers, Confessor

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

February 13

St. Licinius, Bishop of Angers, Confessor

[Called by the French Lesin.]  HE was born of a noble family, allied to the kings of France, about the year 540. He was applied to learning as soon as he was capable of instruction, and sent to the court of King Clotaire I. (whose cousin he was) being about twenty years of age. He signalized himself by his prudence and valour both in the court and in the army, and acquitted himself of all Christian duties with extraordinary exactitude and fervour. Fasting and prayer were familiar to him, and his heart was always raised to God. King Chilperic made him count or governor of Anjou, and being overcome by the importunities of his friends, the saint consented to take a wife about the year 578. But the lady was struck with a leprosy on the morning before it was to be solemnized. This accident so strongly affected Liciuius, that he resolved to carry into immediate execution a design he had long entertained of entirely renouncing the world. This he did in 580, and leaving all things to follow Jesus Christ, he entered himself among the clergy, and hiding himself from the world in a community of ecclesiastics, found no pleasure but in the exercises of piety and the most austere penance, and in meditating on the holy scriptures. Audouin, the fourteenth bishop of Angers, dying towards the year 600, the people remembering the equity and mildness with which Licinius had governed them, rather as their father than as a judge or master, demanded him for their pastor. The voice of the clergy seconded that of the people, and the concurrence of the court of Clotaire II. in his minority, under the regency of his mother Fredegonda, overcame all the opposition his humility could make. His time and his substance were divided in feeding the hungry, comforting and releasing prisoners, and curing the bodies and souls of his people. Though he was careful to keep up exact discipline in his diocess, he was more inclined to indulgence than rigour, in imitation of the tenderness which Jesus Christ showed for sinners. Strong and persuasive eloquence, the more forcible argument of his severe and exemplary life, and God himself speaking by miracles, qualified him to gain the hearts of the most hardened, and make daily conquests of souls to Christ. He renewed the spirit of devotion and penance by frequent retreats, and desired earnestly to resign his bishopric, and hide himself in some solitude: but the bishops of the province, whose consent he asked, refusing to listen to such a proposal, he submitted, and continued to spend the remainder of his life in the service of his flock. His patience was perfected by continual infirmities in his last years, and he finished his sacrifice about the year 618, in the sixty-fifth of his age. He was buried in the church of St. John Baptist, which he had founded, with a monastery, which he designed for his retreat. It is now a collegiate church, and enriched with the treasure of his relics. His memory was publicly honoured in the seventh age: the 1st of November was the day of his festival, though he is now mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on the 13th of February. At Angers he is commemorated on the 8th of June, which seems to have been the day of his consecration, and on the 21st of June, when his relics were translated or taken up, 1169, in the time of Henry II. king of England, count of Anjou. See his life, written from the relation of his disciples soon after his death; and again by Marbodius, archdeacon of Angers, afterwards bishop of Rennes, both in Bollandus.  1