Home  »  Volume X: October  »  St. Chef, Abbot

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

October 29

St. Chef, Abbot

[In Latin, Theuderius.]  CHEF, a young gentleman of one of the best families of the city of Vienne, by the interior call of the Holy Ghost, forsook the world; and having long exercised himself in the most perfect practices of a monastic life under the direction of St. Cæsarius at Arles, returned to his own country, and being joined by several disciples, built for them first cells, and afterwards a monastery near the city of Vienne in Dauphine. It was anciently a custom in the most regular monasteries, that the hebdomadarian priest who said the community mass, spent the week in which he discharged that function, in the closest retirement in his cell, and in holy contemplation and austere penance, 1 both that he might be better prepared to offer daily the tremendous sacrifice, and that he might more faithfully acquit himself of his mediatorship between God and his people. 2 It was also a peculiar custom at Vienne in the sixth century, that some monk, of whose sanctity the people entertained a high opinion, was chosen, who should voluntarily lead the life of a recluse, being walled up in a cell, and spending his whole time in fasting, praying, and weeping to implore the divine mercy in favour of himself and his country. This practice would have been an abuse and superstition, if any person relying on the prayers of others, were themselves more remiss in prayer or penance. St. Chef was pitched upon for this penitential state, which obligation he willingly took upon himself, and discharged with so much fervour as to seem desirous to set no bounds to his tears and mortifications. An extraordinary gift of miracles made his name famous in the whole country. He died about the year 575, and was buried in the monastery of St. Laurence. His relics were translated to a collegiate church of which he is the titular patron, and which gives the name of St. Chef to the town where it stands, in Dauphine, eight leagues from Vienne. This saint is named in the Roman Martyrology. See his life written by Ado, archbishop of Vienne, in Mabill. Sæc. 1. Ben. p. 678.  1
Note 1. Le Brun, Explic. des Cérém. de la Messe, Tr. Prelim. Rubr. 1, p. 73, et Pratiques pour honorer les Sacr. Prat. 28. [back]
Note 2. Every priest receives the charge of being a common intercessor, and by divine right is bound to offer the holy sacrifice and his earnest prayers, not only for the remission of his own sins, but also for those of the people, for whom, by his office, he is appointed the intercessor. (Heb. v. l. 3; S. Chrys. de Sacerdot. l. 6, p. 424, t. 1, ed. Ben.) And theologians and canonists agree that every curate of a parish is obliged to offer up his mass, at least every Sunday and festival, for those souls in particular that are committed to his charge. Conc. Trid. sess. 23, de Reform. c. 1. Gavant, Soto, Bonacina, several answers of the Congr. of the Council at Rome quoted by Pasqualig. qu. 851. Reiffenstuel, Barbosa, de Offic. Parochi, the Constitution of Bened. XIV. which begins, Cum semper oblatas, &c. [back]