15 June 2024

St Landelin, Abbot

From Fr Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints:

HE was nobly born at Vaux, near Bapaume, in 623, and educated in learning and piety under the care of St. Aubert, bishop of Cambray; for i was then the laudable custom for noblemen to commit the education of their sons to some holy and learned bishop or abbot, insomuch that many houses of bishops as well as monasteries were seminaries of youth. It is a point of the utmost importance that youth coming out of such sanctuaries of innocence and virtue, enter the world well apprized of its dangers, and infinitely upon their guard against bad company and the love of vanities and pleasures which they cannot fortify themselves too much against. They must bring along with them all their religion, nourish it in their hearts by assiduous meditation, and confirm it in their minds by pious reading and consideration and by the daily exercise of all the other duties of that virtue. A neglect of this precaution proved for some time fatal to Landelin. Through the seduction and example of certain relations, whose flatteries unfortunately struck in with his passions, he insensibly began to walk in the broad way of the world, and, from a life of pleasure and diversions, fell at length into great disorders. But the sudden death of one of his companions struck into him such a terror, that he entered seriously into himself, like the prodigal son, and in the deepest compunction went and cast himself at the feet of St. Aubert, who had never ceased to pray for his conversion. The bishop placed him in an austere monastery to do penance for some years; in which, so extraordinary were his fervor and contrition, that St. Aubert ordained him deacon, and, when he was thirty years of age, priest, and appointed him to preach to the people. But the holy penitent having his past sins always before his eyes, begged leave to weep for them in solitude and severe penance: which, when he had obtained, he retired to Laubach, now called Lobes, a desert place on the banks of the Sambre. Several persons resorting to him, and imitating his manner of life, though at first they lived in separate cells, gave rise to the great abbey of Lobes, about the year 654. Landelin, regarding himself as unworthy, could not bear to see himself at the head of a religious community of saints; and when he had laid the foundation of this house, he left his disciple, St. Ursmar, to finish the building, and constituted him the first abbot. Landelin afterwards founded Aune, which is at present a house of Cistercians. The French kings bestowed on him great estates, the chief part of which he settled on his first monastery of Lobes. In quest of closer solitude he, with his two companions, SS. Adelin and Domitian, erected some cells of the branches of trees in a thick forest between Mons and Valenciennes. Here also disciples flocked to him, and he founded the abbey of Crespin, which he was at length obliged to govern himself. By preaching in the village he instructed the people in the science of salvation, but he never interrupted his penitential courses. He died on sackcloth and ashes in 686. His name occurs in the Roman Martyrology on the 15th of June. See his life in Mabillon, sæc. 2, Ben. p. 873.

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