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S. Machutus, Bishop.
564, or 565.
S. MACHUTUS, called also Maclovius, or Maclou, was the son of a Welsh nobleman. He was born in
the valley of Llancarvan, in Glamorganshire, about the end of the fifth century. He was baptized and educated in the Christian Faith by S. Brendan, who had come over from Ireland, and then lived in a monastery in the same valley in which Machutus was born. From his childhood his sanctity is said to have been attested by many miracles. There seems to be little foundation for the report of his having been elected to the bishopric of Godmanchester, in Huntingdonshire, which some historians of his life mention. During the confusion which attended the insurrection of Mordred against his uncle, King Arthur, towards the middle of the sixth age, S. Machutus retired into Brittany, then a favourite place of resort for holy religious. He landed in an island where Aaron, a devout ascetic, lived in angelic purity and contemplation with a few disciples. Machutus was admitted into their society, and after a time he was sent by his superior to preach among the pagans who lived on the opposite coast. He discharged this duty with unwearied zeal, and about the year 541, he was elected bishop of the infant church of Aleth. On the death of Aaron, he succeeded him in the government of the monastery. He invited the clergy of Aleth to join the community, and thus increased it to seventy brethren.
The Gallican Martyrologe, quoted by Cressy, celebrates his remarkable piety, in these words; "S. Machutus being exalted to the dignity of a bishop, shed forth abundantly the beams of that divine grace with which he was replenished, illustrating men's souls with the true knowledge of God, inflaming them with His love, and affording them both admonitions and examples of all virtues: to which likewise he added a great efficacy by wonderful operations and miracles. Insomuch, as since the Apostles' time we read not of any one who wrought greater wonders in the name of Christ than he for with his word he calmed tempests; three dead persons he restored to life; to the blind he gave sight; by the sprinkling of holy water he expelled devils; and quenched the poison of serpents.
"Neither was it in regard of miracles only that this holy bishop was like unto those princes of our Faith, but he resembled them in his patience, which was ofttimes put to the trial; for he was assaulted by certain impious persons, and suffered many calamities for justice and religion, insomuch as in the end he was violently thrust out of his episcopal throne and diocess, together with seven other devout persons, whom he had chosen for his especial companions, and who imitated him in purity of living: yet this so heavy a cross he bore after our Lord with a courageous mind, as the Apostles heretofore did'."
The holy bishop with his companions fled to Saintes, in Aquitain, where S. Leontius the archbishop received him with great kindness. He fre
1 Church History of Brittany, b. xi. 29.
quently asked his advice in the government of his see, and took him with him on his journeys to distant parts of his diocess, that he might have the assistance of the prayers and holy example of his guest. Machutus was not unmindful, in his exile, of his own rebellious children, but daily implored the divine mercy to visit them and dispose them to penitence. His prayers were heard, and he was permitted once again to give them his benediction.
As he was on his way to Saintes, to renew his friendship with Leontius, he was overtaken by mortal illness, and gave up his soul to Christ, lying on sackcloth and ashes, on the 15th of November, 564, or, as some say, in the following year. The see of Aleth was afterwards removed to the town of S. Malo, which bears his name, and his body was translated thither. For fear of the Danes, as the Parisian Breviary informs us, his relics were in later years removed to Paris.
Not by the martyr's death alone
The martyr's crown in heaven is won;
For bloodless fields of victory.
What though not taught the flame to feel,
The lion den, the torturing wheel;
Himself his only enemy,
He learns a living death to die.
What though nor executioner,
Nor scourge, nor stake, nor chains be there,
'Tis all supplied with charity.
Hymns from the Parisian Breviary, p. 315.
S. Hugh, Bishop.
S. HUGH was born of a noble family in Burgundy, in 1140. His mother died when he was eight years old, and his father then retired from the world into a house of regular canons near his castle, and dedicated the child to the service of God in the same house. Hugh was entrusted to the care of an aged brother, who instructed him in divine and human learning. He was ordained deacon at the age of
About the same time, his superior took him with him to the Great Chartreuse, near Grenoble, the first house of the Carthusian order. It had been founded by S. Bruno of Cologne in 1084. Its discipline is severer than that of any other religious order, and hence it is one of the least numerous. S. Hugh was so attracted by the mortified life of the solitaries, that he secretly resolved to join their community. The canons among whom he had made his profession in vain attempted to keep him from his purpose. He escaped from the house, and was admitted into the Chartreuse, by Basil the prior. The life of the monks was an unceasing warfare with earthly desires. They wore the coarsest garments, and underneath, a shirt of hair. They abstained from flesh meat, even in sickness, and tasted food only once in the day, except during the octaves of some of the great festivals. The greater part of their time was passed in
their cells, in prayer, and contemplation, and in transcribing books. They took their food in solitude; and assembled in choir on Sundays and holydays only, at all the hours of the divine Office, except complin. On other days, they met only at matins and lauds and vespers. For the holy Mass was not offered daily, but only on Sundays and festivals. No one was ever allowed to leave enclosure, except the prior and the procurator, on the affairs of the house.
Such was the life of S. Hugh at the age of twenty. In his austerities, he exceeded even that strict rule. After he had remained for some time in the house, he was asked by a venerable monk, if he desired to receive the order of a priest. He answered joyfully that it was the dearest wish of his heart. But the old man reminded him how many devout men had trembled to take upon them so awful a function. S. Hugh immediately threw himself on the ground, and confessed his unworthiness, with many tears. The father, seeing that his eagerness arose not from presumption, but from an ardent longing to offer the immaculate Victim, assured him that his desire would shortly be fulfilled, and that he should afterwards be advanced to the dignity of a bishop.
At the end of ten years, he was made procurator of the monastery, and the fame of his sanctity spread throughout France, and was not unknown in England. In 1181, King Henry II. founded the first Carthusian monastery in Britain, at Witham in Somersetshire. But the first two priors had failed to overcome the difficulties which beset the new order. The king therefore sent messengers to the Great Char