Saint of the Day|
This good apple fell pretty far from a bad family tree
Intrigue led St. Clodoald from court to hermitage
By Tony Staley
It's often said - usually to explain bad behavior by someone -
that "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." The old adage
means that if one comes from a bad family, we should expect them
to be bad too.
But we also see people who behave quite differently from their
relatives. Such was the case with St. Clodoald, also known as St.
Cloud or Clou.
St. Clodoald was born in 524. He was the grandson of the Frankish
King, Clovis, and was the youngest son of King Clodimir, who in
511 inherited one-fourth of Clovis' kingdom (his three brothers
each were given their share of the remainder of Clovis' domain).
Before long, Clodimir murdered his cousin, St. Sigismund of
Burgundy, who had been a king, but then became a hermit after he
was deposed for killing his own son.
In turn, Sigismund's brother, King Gondomar of Burgundy declared
war on Clodimir and in 524 killed him in battle. Clodoald and his
two brothers, who were all young children, inherited shares of
their father's - Clodimir - kingdom.
To prepare them to become kings, Clodoald and his brothers were
raised in Paris by their grandmother, St. Clotilda (the wife of
Clovis). The children's uncle, Childebert, served as the regent
and ruled in the place of his nephews.
But after a few years, Childebert plotted with another uncle,
Clotaire of Soissons, to kill the three brothers and seize the
throne. Clodoald was the only brother who managed to escape.
When he came of age, Clodoald, sick of politics and all the
murder he had seen in his own family, refused to claim the crown
to which he was entitled.
Instead, he became a hermit and a follower of St. Severinus, who
in 504 is said to have healed King Clovis of a disease that the
doctors were unable to cure.
Eventually, St. Clodoald built a hermitage at Nogent, on the
Seine River near Paris, where he offered religious instruction to
His hermitage later became known as St. Cloud. He was living
there when he died in 560. We celebrate the feast of St. Clodoald
on Sept. 7.
His life reminds us that we can fall far from the tree, if we so
choose and with the grace of God. It also reminds us to give
others the benefit of the doubt and not to judge them based on
the "fruit" of their families.
Sources: Butler's Lives of the Saints, Dictionary of Saints and 365 Saints.