Saint of the Day|
Stresses, even in a hidden life
St. Leobinus found every day tensions in the uncommon monastery life
By Tony Staley
The life of a monk probably seems like a quiet, safe and peaceful
existence to most of us. That's to be expected since most of us
know little of the daily existence behind the cloister,
especially the strains and stresses that happen whenever any
group of people live in close proximity.
But even taking that for granted, most of us probably don't think
of abbeys and monasteries as places where physical violence is a
strong possibility. And usually, at least today in countries such
as the United States, there's no problem.
But back in the sixth century, the possibility of violence was
more real, as St. Leobinus (also known as Lubin) discovered.
St. Leobinus was born into a peasant family near Poitiers,
France, and worked in the fields as a boy.
He wanted an education, so he applied for a job at the monastery
at Noailles, where he worked all day and studied by candlelight
at night, much to the distress of the monks who said the light
kept them from sleeping. So he put a screen around his candle and
continued his studies.
St. Carilef eventually met Leobinus and introduced him to St.
Avitus, who was so impressed with Leobinus that he invited him to
join his hermitage near Le Perche, France.
Later, Leobinus joined an abbey at Lyons. He was a member of that
abbey during a war between the Franks and Burgundians when
raiders attacked it forcing the monks to flee, except for
Leobinus and an old man. The raiders seized Leobinus at the
suggestion of the old man, and tortured him to force him to tell
them where the abbey's treasures were hidden.
The raiders learned nothing from Leobinus and left , believing
they had drowned him. But he managed to recover and decided that
being a hermit was a better idea. So he returned to Le Perche and
After Avitus died, Leobinus continued living as a hermit until he
was ordained by Bp. Aetherius of Chartres, who appointed him
abbot of Brou. He served until apparently deciding he did not
like administrative duties. So he left to become a monk at
He remained there until St. Caesarius, the bishop of Arles, and a
former monk at Lérins convinced him to return to Brou, rather
than to leave his people "like sheep without a shepherd."
Shortly after, Leobinus was appointed bishop of Chartres,
succeeding Aetherius. As bishop, he ordered many reforms and took
part in the Fifth Council of Orléans and the Second Council of
After a long illness, Leobinus died in about 558 on March 14, the
day we observe his feast.
(Sources: Butler's Lives of the Saints, Dictionary of Saints, Lives of the Saints II and 365 Saints)