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

August 22

St. Philibert, First Abbot of Jumieges and Nermoutier

HE was born in the territory of Eaulse in Gascony, which was then an archiepiscopal see, but since removed to Auch. His father, Philibald, having received holy orders, was made bishop of Vic-jour, (in Latin Vicus Julius,) which see was a short time after translated to Aire. The young Philibert was educated under the eyes of his father, who sent him to the court of Clotaire II. where the example and instructions of St. Ouen made so deep an impression on him, that, disgusted with the world, he, at the age of twenty years, took the habit in the abbey of Rebais in the diocess of Meaux, founded by St. Ouen. Here his eminent virtues procured him to be appointed successor to St. Aile, in the government of this house, but left it on finding some of the monks refractory. After having visited the most celebrated houses which professed the rule of St. Columban, he retired into Neustria, now called Normandy. Clovis II. and queen Matilda gave him ground in the forest of Jumieges, where he founded the monastery which bears his name, not far from that of Fontenelle, of which St. Vandrille was superior. He inured his subjects to hard labour, obliging them to remove the rocks and drain the morasses which covered the country; 1 and the community of Jumieges increased in a short time to such a degree, that it consisted of nine hundred monks. He also built a monastery for women at Pavilly, 2 on a piece of ground given him by Amalbert, lord of that district, whose daughter Aurea took the veil there. St. Philibert having some business at the court in 674, boldly reproached Ebroin, mayor of the palace, for his many acts of injustice. This brought on him the vengeance of that cruel minister, who persecuted him so violently that he was obliged to quit Jumieges. The saint then retired to Poitiers, and afterwards to the little island of Hero, on the coast of Poitou, where he founded a monastery, formerly called Hermoutier, now Nermoutier or Noirmoutier. He likewise founded the priory of Quinzay, near Poitiers, the government of which he gave to St. Aicard, whom he afterwards made abbot of Jumieges. He shut himself up at Hermoutier, where he died in 684. He is mentioned on the 20th and 22d of August in the Martyrologies of the ninth age. In the Norman incursions the monks of Hermoutier translated his relics to the monastery of Tournus in the diocess of Macron; which house, together with other possessions, was the gift of Charles the Bald. It was afterwards changed into an abbey, which became very famous; but was secularized by Urban VIII. in 1627, and is now a collegiate church. It retains, however, the title of abbey, and is held in commendam. See the life of St. Philibert in Mabillon, sæc. 2, Bened. Chifflet, Hist. de l’Abb. et l’Egl. de Tournus; and Juenin, Nouv. Hist. de l’Abb. de S. Philibert, et Ville de Tournus. Dijon, 1733, in 4to.  1
Note 1. The same was practised by the monks of Croyland, Peterborough, and Ely, on the coast of Lincolnshire; and a learned modern remarks that the present possessors of the church lands have not been able to drain them sufficiently, so as to render them fit for cultivation. See Stukeley in his Medallic history of the reign of Carausius. [back]
Note 2. St. Austrebert was first abbess of this monastery, and her festival is kept there on the 10th of February. Pavilly is four leagues from Rouen, and belongs to the very ancient and respectable house of Esueval. [back]