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

April 19

St. Ursmar, of Laubes or Lobes, Bishop and Abbot

HE was born near Avesne, in Haynault, and grew up from his cradle a model of all virtues, in which he made a continual progress by a life of humility, patience, and penance, and by an assiduous application to prayer, in which he usually shed abundance of tears. What he most earnestly asked of God was the gift of an ardent charity, that all his thoughts and actions, and those of all men, might, with the most pure and fervent intention, and in the most perfect manner, be directed in all things to fulfil his holy and adorable will. In his conversation it was his earnest desire and drift to induce persons of a secular life to fix their thoughts, as much as the condition of their state would allow, on heavenly things; and to accompany even their worldly business with such aspirations and thoughts, and to study to withdraw their hearts from all attachment to creatures. St. Landelin had then lately founded the abbey of Lobes, on the Sambre, in a territory which is now subject to the prince of Liege, though in the diocess of Cambray. Ursmar here put on the monastic habit. When St. Landelin retired into a closer solitude, where he soon after built the monastery of Crespin, he left Ursmar abbot of Lobes, in 686. Our saint redoubled his fervour in all the exercises of penance in this dignity. He never tasted any flesh-meat or fish, and for ten years never once touched bread, not even in a dangerous sickness. He finished the building of his abbey and church, and founded Aune and several other monasteries. He often left his dear cell to preach the faith to idolaters and sinners. He became the apostle of several districts in the diocess of Cambray, Arras, Tournay, Noyon, Terouanne, Laon, Metz, Tries, Cologne, and Maestricht. By virtue of a commission from the holy see, he exercised the functions of a bishop: his predecessor, St. Landelin, and his two successors, SS. Ermin and Theodulph, were invested with the same character. In his old age he resigned his abbacy to St. Ermin, and died in retirement in 713, being almost sixty-nine years old, on the 18th day of April, on which he is honoured as principal patron of Binche, Lobes, and Luxembourg; but is named on the 19th, which was the day of his burial, in the Roman and several other Martyrologies. His relics are venerated at Binche, four leagues from Mons. See his original life by a disciple, with the notes by Henschenius: also Folcuin, abbot of Laubes, in 980, in his accurate history of The Gests of the Abbots of Laubes, published by D’Achery, Spicileg. t. 6, p. 541. See also Folcuin’s appendix on the miracles wrought at the shrine of St. Ursmar, under the author’s own eyes, ib.; and in the Bollandists, 18 Apr. p. 564; and another life of this saint composed in heroic verse by Heriger, abbot of Laubes, in the year 1000.  1