March 29 – One of many Irish missionaries who labored to convert Central Europe

March 28, 2016

St. Eustace

Date of birth unknown, died March 29, 625.

St. Eustace of LuxeuilHe was second abbot of the Irish monastery of Luxeuil in France, and his feast is commemorated in the Celtic martyrologies on the 29th of March.

He was one of the first companions of St. Columbanus, a monk of Bangor (Ireland), who with his disciples did much to spread the Gospel over Central and Southern Europe. When Columbanus, the founder of Luxeuil, was banished from the Kingdom of Burgundy, on account of his reproving the morals of King Thierry, the exiled abbot recommended his community to choose Eustace as his successor. Subsequently Columbanus settled at Bobbio in Italy. Three years after his appointment (613), when Clothaire II became ruler of the triple Kingdom of France, the abbot of Luxeuil was commissioned, by royal authority, to proceed to Bobbio for the purpose of recalling Columbanus. The latter, however, setting forth his reasons in a letter to the king, declined to return, but asked that Clothaire would take under his protection the monastery and brethren of Luxeuil.

St. Columbanus founder of the Luxeuil Abbey.During the twelve years that followed, under the administration of the abbot Eustace, the monastery continued to acquire renown as a seat of learning and sanctity. Through the royal patronage, its benefices and lands were increased, the king devoting a yearly sum, from his own revenues, towards its support. Eustace and his monks devoted themselves to preaching in remote districts, not yet evangelized, chiefly in the northeastern extremities of Gaul. Their missionary work extended even to Bavaria. Between the monasteries of Luxeuil in France and that of Bobbio in Italy (both founded by St. Columbanus) connection and intercourse seem to have long been kept up.

JOHN B. CULLEN (Catholic Encyclopedia)

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